Mason working to become a “welcoming university”

By Melanie Balog
George Mason University

Cisneros Board Chairman Jose Villarreal; Lisa Gring-Pemble, dean of New Century College; Mason President Ángel Cabrera, Cisneros Center President Nicolas Perilla and Henry Cisneros, founder of the Cisneros Center. Photo courtesy of the Cisneros Center.

Cisneros Board Chairman Jose Villarreal; Lisa Gring-Pemble, dean of New Century College; Mason President Ángel Cabrera, Cisneros Center President Nicolas Perilla and Henry Cisneros, founder of the Cisneros Center.
Photo courtesy of the Cisneros Center.

The Cisneros Center for New Americans and George Mason University have formed a partnership to make higher education more accessible to immigrant and first generation college students.

The two organizations will pilot a framework for a “Welcoming University” in which they will pursue mutual goals of expanding access to higher education by increasing the number of first generation college students, adapting and improving higher education to better meet the needs of diverse students, and empowering immigrants and the children of immigrants and “New Americans” to better their lives through education.

Mason’s New Century College and Institute for Immigration Research will lead this initiative. Mason will promote learning and community-building that integrate research, discovery, and open-ended problem solving in real-world contexts that apply directly to the lives of immigrants and first-generation college students.

“Mason welcomes the opportunity to join with the Cisneros Center for New Americans,” said President Ángel Cabrera. “Through this collaboration, we take an important step in recognizing the impressive socioeconomic and political contributions new Americans make, especially in our metro D.C. area.”

Mason is especially positioned to empower immigrant families and their children, said Nicolas Perilla, president of the Cisneros Center for New Americans.

“This partnership seeks to ensure that the American Dream remains a reality for anyone who is willing to work hard and improve our nation,” Perilla said.

Lisa Gring-Pemble, dean of New Century College, said that the partnership demonstrates Mason’s commitment to accessible education.

“Our work with the Cisneros Center helps Mason leverage our ideal location and unique campus demographics to work toward teaching innovation and research of consequence.”

The Cisneros Center for New Americans is a nonpartisan, nonprofit institution headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, which was founded by Henry G. Cisneros, a long-time advocate of immigrant integration. The center’s mission is to ensure that all Americans, whether native born or adopted by our nation, have the opportunity to achieve their American dream.

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Truman Lewis

A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.