San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to speak at UNT Feb. 27

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 14:47

What:        “A Conversation on Political Leadership in the Future of American Politics” -- A forum at the University of North Texas featuring San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, an emerging national leader in the Democratic Party, and his mentor, Luís Ricardo Fraga, the Russell F. Stark University Professor and a professor of political science at the University of Washington

When:       7 p.m. Feb. 27 (Wednesday). Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Where:      Lyceum of UNT’s University Union, which is located one block west of Welch and West Prairie streets at 1155 Union Circle

Cost:         Free

Contact:     UNT Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity at 940-565-2456


DENTON (UNT), Texas — San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, who last year became the first Hispanic to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention, will provide his views on the changing demographics of American voters and the challenges and opportunities the changes present for local, Texas and national politics during a free forum at the University of North Texas Feb. 27 (Wednesday).

“A Conversation on Political Leadership in the Future of American Politics” begins at 7 p.m. in the Lyceum on the third floor of UNT’s University Union. The union is located one block west of Welch and West Prairie streets at 1155 Union Circle. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Castro will be joined in the forum by Luís Ricardo Fraga, a professor of political science at the University of Washington who holds the title of Russell F. Stark University Professor. Castro and Fraga met during the 1990s when Fraga was teaching at Stanford University. Castro and his twin brother, Joaquin, now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, had enrolled at Stanford after winning scholarships.

Castro and Fraga will have “a conversation between two close friends” during the forum, said Valerie Martinez-Ebers, UNT professor of political science who originally invited Fraga to speak to her Latino politics class.

“Luis took Julián and Joaquin under his wing and mentored them, and they’ve remained friends over the years. When Julián gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, Luis was in the audience at Julián’s invitation, and sat with his family,” said Martinez-Ebers, who has collaborated on research with Fraga since 2000 and is a co-author with him on “Latino Lives in America: Making it Home.”

She said that when she contacted Fraga to speak to her class, he asked if Castro could also come to UNT. During the forum, Castro will speak from the perspective of an emerging national political leader, while Fraga will provide the view of a scholar on the politics of race and ethnicity.

Castro, a native of San Antonio, became the youngest mayor of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. when he was elected in May 2009 at age 34. He also became the youngest elected city councilman in San Antonio history when he was elected to the council at age 26. Castro was re-elected as mayor in 2011 with nearly 82 percent of the vote.

As mayor, Castro created SA2020, a community-wide visioning effort turned nonprofit organization in which San Antonio citizens work to achieve goals in community safety, downtown development, education and eight other areas to transform their city by the year 2020.

Under Castro’s leadership, San Antonio opened Café College in 2010, which provides any student in the San Antonio area with guidance on college admissions, financial aid and standardized test preparation. In its first year, Café College served more than 5,000 area students and was expanded the following year. Castro also led a voter-approved public referendum that will expand high-quality pre-kindergarten services to more than 22,000 San Antonio 4-year-olds over the next eight years.

In addition to his bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University, Castro has a law degree from Harvard University.

Fraga, a Corpus Christi native, has taught at the University of Washington since 2007. He is currently the university’s associate vice provost for faculty advancement and the director of the Diversity Research Institute.

Besides “Latino Lives in America: Making It Home,” he is the co-author of “Latinos in the New Millennium: An Almanac of Opinion, Behavior and Policy Preferences,” published last year, and a high school textbook, “United States Government: Principles in Practice.” He and Martinez-Ebers are two of six principal investigators on the Latino National Survey, the nation’s largest survey of Latinos’ political attitudes, beliefs, behavior and policy preferences.

In 2011, Fraga was appointed to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and was co-chair of the Higher Education Committee that organized a research symposium, “Enriching America Through the 21st Century: Enhancing Latino Postsecondary Completion,” in August 2012. He is a graduate of Harvard and Rice Universities.

Download images of Castro and Fraga:


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