Cuadros to deliver Winter Commencement address

Paul Cuadros, associate professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism and executive director of the UNC Scholars’ Latino Initiative, will be the featured speaker at the Winter Commencement ceremony.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt will preside at the event, which takes place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18, in the Dean E. Smith Center.

Cuadros emboldens students to investigate issues affecting communities, the state, the country and the world by examining race and poverty in America. He was selected by Folt in consultation with the Commencement Speaker Selection Committee, which includes students and faculty. His selection highlights Carolina’s continued tradition of outstanding faculty speakers at the ceremony.

“Paul’s remarkable career as an award-winning reporter and his wonderful contributions that enlighten our students as a distinguished member of our faculty are shining examples of his superb professionalism and daily dedication to making a difference,” Folt said. “I am excited that he will share his insights and experiences with an even larger audience at our Winter Commencement. His commitment to uncovering and highlighting the important issues of race and poverty in North Carolina and across our country will inspire our graduates to go forward and make an impact in our state, nation and around the world.”

Cuadros, who joined the University in 2006, serves as the chair and executive director of the UNC Scholars’ Latino Initiative, a three-year mentoring and college preparatory program between Carolina students and Latino students at six area high schools. He is the co-founder of two campus organizations: the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative, a Latino educational and cultural center, and the Latina/o Caucus, a coalition of faculty and staff that advocates for Latino interests on campus. Cuadros won the UNC Diversity Award in 2012 for his work opening doors for minority students, faculty and staff on campus.

His book, “A Home on the Field: How One Championship Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America,” which tells the story of Siler City’s struggles with Latino immigration through the lives of a predominantly Latino high school soccer team, was Carolina’s summer reading program selection for new students in 2009. Cuadros is the only faculty member to have his or her book selected. His book has also been chosen for summer reading programs at other universities and is currently the focus of a documentary film project and episodic series.

Cuadros has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a fellowship with the Alicia Patterson Foundation in 1999, considered one of the most prestigious journalism fellowships; the 2006 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, for his contribution to the radio series “North Carolina Voices: Understanding Poverty;” and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ award for online reporting.

Cuadros completed his undergraduate degree in communication and media studies at the University of Michigan in 1985 and earned his master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in 1991.

Published October 14, 2016.