Hostos President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez Receives 2014 Community Leadership Award From Citizens Union

At its 2014 Community Leadership Award celebration on June 4th, the Citizens Union recognized Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, President of Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of CUNY, and other educational leaders for their roles in shaping the lives of young New Yorkers.

Entitled “Spring for Reform,” this event was held at the McGraw-Hill Building in Manhattan, and other honorees included: Luis Garden Acosta, Founder & President, El Puente, and Co-founder, El Puente Academy for Peace & Justice; David C. Banks, President/CEO, The Eagle Academy Foundation; Frances Lucerna, Executive Director and Co-founder, El Puente, and Founding Principal, El Puente Academy for Peace & Justice; and Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO, Girls Who Code.

The guest speaker at the celebration was Errol Louis from NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

Citizens Union is a nonpartisan good government group dedicated to making democracy work for all New Yorkers. A civic watchdog, CU combats corruption and fights for political reform, working to ensure fair and open elections, honest and efficient government, and a civically-engaged public. Believing that an informed citizenry is the cornerstone of a thriving local democracy, Citizens Union Foundation—the research, education, and advocacy organization affiliated with CU—publishes, a front-row seat to New York City and New York State policies and politics.

About Eugenio María de Hostos
Born in Puerto Rico, Eugenio María de Hostos (1839-1903) was a 19th-century humanist, revolutionary, and author who traveled extensively and spent most of his life in exile. He made major contributions to education in the Dominican Republic and Chile. He was also an exemplary figure for the New World societies: an activist who fought for human and national rights at a time when these were hardly acknowledged as fundamental values; a committed abolitionist; and a staunch advocate for the recognition and enfranchisement of marginalized groups: women, the Chinese, Native Americans, mestizos, and peoples of African ancestry. All of this made him a champion for inclusiveness and one of the most powerful voices for diversity in the Hispanic world.

Hostos’ views on education are worthy of note for their visionary character. His pedagogy was student-centered and based on scientific and rational methods of teaching that included observation, experiential learning, use of manipulatives, reasoning, and critical thinking. It brought to teaching the motivational theory of learning as well as an awareness of the relevance of context.