University Park, IL,
12:07 PM

Governors State to honor Sylvia Puente with Doctorate Degree

Trailblazing DEI Activist for Latino community

Sylvia Puente

Governors State University (GSU) will honor Sylvia Puente, trailblazing activist, and advocate for the Latino community, with an honorary doctorate degree during the 2023 Commencement ceremony at the Tinley Park Convention Center on May 13.

Puente is the president and CEO of the Latino Policy Forum (the Forum), a nonprofit that works for equity, justice, and economic prosperity on behalf of the Latino community in Chicago and throughout Illinois.

At the helm of the Forum for more than a decade, Puente has grown the organization into a central voice on issues that impact the Latino community and established herself as a thought-leader in this arena.

A Chicago native, Puente’s activism began at age 13 when she walked the picket lines in support of the United Farmworkers Union with her mother to protest inequities in housing, pay, and education.

Puente was selected by Governor J.B. Pritzker to serve on his transition team as part of the Educational Success Committee and was recently appointed to the Restore, Reinvest, Renew Board and the State Housing Task Force.

Appointed by previous Illinois governors to the Illinois Early Learning Council, on which she still serves, and the Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board, Puente is also a board director of Advance Illinois, a public policy agency working to improve education in the state, and a member of Illinois Unidos, a consortium of local Latino leaders dedicated to addressing the public-health and the economic impact of COVID-19 on the Latino community statewide. 

As both a bridge builder and a trailblazer, she was nationally recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S.” and is regularly called upon to provide perspectives on the nation’s changing demographic. An expert on Latino issues, she has published numerous reports that articulate the vital role the Latino population has in the socio-economic growth of Chicago and the suburbs. 

Counted among Puente’s many recognitions is the Ohtli Award, Mexico’s highest recognition of those serving the Mexican community outside of Mexico. She is also a fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago, has been acknowledged by the University of Chicago as an Outstanding Leader of Color, and by the League of United Latin American Citizens. She was also named one of 25 Chicago-area women as a “Pioneer for Social Justice.”

Puente, the first in her family to earn a college degree, holds a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She continued with graduate studies at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and earned her master’s degree from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. 

 Admission to Commencement ceremonies is by ticket only.