Ernesto Nieto’s alma mater lauds him for recent Splete Award
Last month, National Hispanic Institute founder and president Ernesto Nieto was awarded the Allen P. Splete Award from the Council of Independent Colleges. Last week, Nieto’s alma mater, Southwestern University, touted the award in a profile that focused on Nieto’s work in founding the National Hispanic Institute and leading it over nearly four decades.
The profile recounted what is by now a familiar story to NHI alumni and supporters—that Nieto saw a need for developing future Latino leaders to meet the needs of a growing population, and sought to do so through educating high school students with the potential to be those leaders.
As the article notes:
He realized that the Latino community needed a means of supplying future leaders – a sustainable means of fostering the leadership mindset.
It was with this objective in mind that he started the NHI in 1979, with the goal of recruiting exceptionally bright Latino kids. “I wanted to impress the importance of having a voice in the community, and give them the courage to stand up and be part of the American experience.” NHI creates leadership experiences for thousands of high-achieving youth and their families to advance their quality of life and that of the Hispanic community. It encourages them to aspire upward and to share their skills and talents so they blossom.
He also wanted to make sure his vision did not come from government funding. It has been a challenge that has continued for almost 40 years, but he has “enjoyed every minute of it.”
Nieto’s philosophy is very investor driven. Wants to put in place an infrastructure that is sustainable. “It has taken years of seeding and cultivating, but the NHI is positioned to continue to change lives and foster leaders.” The NHI has “never been a story of anger or retribution. It’s an opportunity for us to reshape thinking and get kids to love their communities.”
The article also includes the core question that Nieto now asks of all past and present NHI participants: “What are you doing to change humanity?”