Distinguished Service Professor Earns Esteemed Honors from Two Community Organizations

For more than 25 years, Gloria Bonilla-Santiago has worked determinedly to fulfill her dream of transforming poor urban communities through education.

gloriaAmong her landmark achievements, the Rutgers University–Camden professor created and oversees the LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Partnership) Academy University Charter School in Camden, one of the nation’s most successful charter schools.

For her tireless efforts, the Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers–Camden continues to garner the praise and admiration of community organizations and leaders throughout the region.

True to form, the Delaware Valley’s Most Influential Latinos Foundation has named Bonilla-Santiago as one of the 2014 Delaware Valley’s Most Influential Latinos. She will be formally recognized at an awards reception, to be held from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing.

A resident of Voorhees, Bonilla-Santiago has also been named Citizen of the Year by the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club. She will be honored at the Voorhees Community Awards Dinner, to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, at The Mansion in Voorhees.

“I am very grateful and honored to receive these recognitions,” says Bonilla-Santiago. “I do what I love. My work is about transforming and saving lives. I don’t work at a job, but rather pursue my passion and calling. Rutgers University–Camden has given me a forum for turning my research into meaningful service to build a pipeline from cradle to college for children and families who live in risky environments. They are the real heroes in my work.”

Bonilla-Santiago earned a bachelor’s degree from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), a master’s degree in social work from Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and master’s and doctoral degrees from City University of New York.

She reflected on her arduous and inspirational journey – a child of migrant farm workers in Puerto Rico who defied family, tradition, and expectations to reach the highest ranks of academia – in her engaging new autobiography, The Miracle on Cooper Street: Lessons from an Inner City, published by Archway Publishing.

Bonilla-Santiago is also the author of numerous articles and two other books: Breaking Ground and Barriers: Hispanic Women Developing Effective Leadership and Organizing Puerto Rican Migrant Farmworkers: The Experience of Puerto Ricans in New Jersey. She is also a blogger for U.S. World News & World Report and The Huffington Post, and is a frequent commentator for ABC, NBC, and CBS news programs on issues concerning education.

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