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Latino Daily News

Thursday March 28, 2013

Cecilia Preciado Burciaga, Chicano/Latino Student Champion, Dies at 67

Cecilia Preciado Burciaga, Chicano/Latino Student Champion, Dies at 67

Photo: Cecilia Preciado Burciaga

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Cecilia Preciado Burciaga, mentor and advocate to countless minority students and the first high-ranking Latina administrator at a top university, has died at age 67 from lung cancer.

In her 20-years at Stanford University, Cecilia served in various positions, including Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, and Assistant to the President as Director of the Office of Chicano Affairs at Stanford. In her position, she became very active in the support and formation of the Chicano community at the school, including the creation of El Centro Chicano, a Chicano/Latino student center.

In 1994 she left Stanford, some say fired, by then-provost Condoleeza Rice.  Her students were so upset they staged protests and a hunger strike to keep her.  From Stanford, Perciado Burciaga became a founding dean and associate vice president at Cal State University Monterey Bay.  From 1994-2010 she served on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.

The Los Angeles Times: noted “She taught hesitant young women and men, many the first in their families to attend college, that they belonged and could thrive at the elite private school, and later kept more than a few from dropping out. She soothed nervous parents, persuading them, in Spanish and English, that the university was a safe place for their children and that it would open their eyes to new worlds.”

Preciago Burciagas other legacy was her endless campaigning for universities to hire more minorities and for the creation of more diverse college campuses.

Preciado Burciaga was married to Chicano artist and writer, Jose Antonio Burciago until his death in 1996 and is survived by the couples two children.  She grew up in Chino on a dairy farm where her parents, both Mexican immigrants, worked.