By Jonathan Sperling
Queens College President Fèlix V. Matos Rodríguez was honored for his tireless dedication to promoting Latin culture throughout his career as an educator and as a public servant in Puerto Rico, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced on Friday.
Brown presented Rodriguez with the 13th Annual Hispanic Heritage Award for his efforts, which have seen him serve as a close advisor to the governor of Puerto Rico.
“This year we pay tribute to Fèlix V. Matos Rodríguez. Dr. Matos Rodríguez currently serves as the tenth president of Queens College and former president of Hostos Community College. These accomplishments have given him the rare distinction of being one of a select group of educators in the nation to have served as both the head of a baccalaureate and community college institution,” Brown said in a statement. “Not only is President Matos Rodríguez heralded for his work in academia - most recently for his work to improve Hostos College’s academic and financial reputations - but he is also lauded for his work to advance and influence the lives of Hispanic Americans through his extensive public service initiatives.”
A native of San Juan, Rodríguez earned a graduate degree in Latin American studies from Yale University and a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and has served as an educator at Hunter College, Northeastern University, Boston University, the Universidad Interamericana - Recinto Metro, City College and Yale.
Rodríguez also serves as a board member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Phipps Houses, the United Way of New York City, the TIAA Hispanic Advisory Council and the Research Alliance for New York City Schools.
Last year’s recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Award was ABC 7 Eyewitness News reporter Joe Torres. Past recipients include the first Latina President of the Queens County Women’s Bar Association and former Queens Assistant District Attorney Lourdes M. Ventura, the Metropolitan Latin American Law Student Association (MetroLALSA), for its work bringing together the Latino student law communities from 13 different New York and New Jersey law schools, and Joseph A. Zayas, Judge of the New York State Court of Claims, among others.
“Our Latino population here in Queens represents 28 percent of our 2.3 million residents,” Brown added. “It is a population of great cultural significance to the fabric of our society, but more importantly to the various communities they call home within our borough.”