Ernesto Nieto honored with Council of Independent Colleges’ Allen P. Splete Award
NHI founder and president Ernesto Nieto was honored by the Council of Independent Colleges, an international association of independent colleges and universities with more than 700 member institutions, with the Allen P. Splete Award for Outstanding Service at the organization’s annual dinner event in Florida last week.
The Splete Award, first awarded in 1988, is presented annually “to an individual, publication, or organization in recognition of significant contributions to independent higher education,” according to the CIC’s literature on the award. Nieto exemplifies a further criterion of the award: “Demonstrat[ing] national leadership, through ideas and commitment, on behalf of private colleges and universities.
Robert Maginn, CEO of award-sponsoring company Jenzabar, presented the award to Nieto. In an article on the Jenzabar blog, Maginn praised Nieto and his work, noting, “Mr. Nieto has made an indelible impact in independent higher education by creating a leadership institute for Latino youth. Grounded in Mr. Nieto’s vision, NHI has become a pillar of leadership, community, and social entrepreneurship in independent higher education.”
Nieto, who attended with NHI co-founder and executive vice president Gloria de Leon, noted that he accepted the award on behalf of all NHI staff members and volunteers. “We were honored and humbled by the recognition, which should really go to everyone involved in the effort of bringing programs to our students and to CIC member schools,” Nieto said. “In my remarks, I talked about my background in inner-city schools, a family who lifted themselves up from sharecropping, and how Gloria had a similar background. The organization does incredible work expanding opportunities for a lot of people, including many of the Latino youths who are alumni of our programs. It was truly special to gather with them and to be in their presence.”
According to its mission statement, “The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of nonprofit independent colleges and universities that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership; advance institutional excellence; and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society.”