University Park, IL,
23:52 PM

GSU Honors trailblazing activist, Sylvia Puente, with honorary doctorate degree


Governors State University (GSU) honored 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.

“What an honor to receive an honorary doctoral degree on this beautiful day,” said Puente. “Dr. Green, Board of Trustees, distinguished guests, parents, families, graduates, faculty and staff, thank you.”

Puente delivered a heartfelt address that reminded graduates that they do not stand alone. “You are here because someone supported you and most likely because someone made a sacrifice,” she said. 

Puente, a Chicago native who began her advocacy at 13 years old when she supported her mother and family from the picket lines in support of the United Farmworkers Union, is the President and CEO of the Latino Policy Forum, an organization that promotes equity and justice.

After congratulating the Class of 2023, Puente said, “Your sacrifice has allowed this moment of celebration, accomplishment, and achievement to exist. I salute you for your sacrifice and hope.”

She left graduates with three valuable lessons to live by; know who you are and be grounded in your identity and your gifts; step up to leadership; and listen to the wisdom of your heart.

“These are the lessons that have served me and that I offer you as you embark on the next phase of your journey," Puente said. “We are moving into a world of constant change and one in which we face unprecedented challenges. I look forward to your leadership in creating a world of hope where all have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams.”

Click here to watch the 4:30 p.m. Commencement ceremony.