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Guzmán appointed by governor to OCHLA seat

By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent


Dr. Greg Guzmán is Northwest Ohio’s latest representative on the Ohio Commission on Hispanic-Latino Affairs (OCHLA). His appointment was announced Monday by Gov. John Kasich, which will run through Oct. 7. 2016.


Dr. Guzmán stated a higher education colleague alerted him to the opening on the OCHLA board, then was contacted by a Northwest Ohio representative of the governor’s office.


“I’m honored and excited to do this. It’s a great opportunity for all of us here in Northwest Ohio for our voice to be heard,” he said.


Dr. Guzmán was appointed last summer as the executive director of Central City Ministry for the Toledo Catholic Diocese. He oversees Queen of Apostles, 235 Courtland, and Rosary Cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Blvd., both K-8 elementary schools. Dr. Guzmán was a student at the now-defunct St. James Catholic elementary school during his childhood in the Old South End. He also attended Central Catholic High School.


Dr. Guzmán spent nearly four years at the helm of Herzing University’s Toledo campus, coming to a smaller university as the youngest and the first Latino university president in the Toledo area after a stint as a vice provost at Bowling Green State University.


“I’m counting on my networking to be a big part of the causes and efforts that I advance,” he said. “I know many Latinos in our area and I plan to use them as a network, a sounding board to find out what’s most important to them in this moment in time and where we can make an impact.”


He finished his doctorate in higher education last summer at the University of Toledo. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s in Public Administration focusing on economic development and planning, both from BGSU.


His background includes stints at public, private, two-year and four-year institutions, as well as the for-profit and non-profit sectors. His résumé highlights experience at virtually every college or university in Northwest Ohio: the University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, Lourdes University, Owens Community College, and Tiffin University.


Education of Latinos will be a primary focus of his work at and with Ohio’s Latino affairs commission, based in Columbus.


“I bring a unique perspective. Many of the experiences I’ve had have been in higher education, as well as now K through 12,” he said. “I bring a new perspective on education for Latinos and Hispanics. Education has been an ongoing challenge for Latinos, but we also have a great opportunity in front of us to advance our causes and efforts we’re undertaking through education. I see it as the means of advancement.”


Dr. Guzmán stated part of the problem rests with Latino families being unaware of many of the educational opportunities available to their children, citing the state’s EdChoice scholarship as a prime example. That school voucher allows children from failing schools to receive a private education at no cost, primarily at faith-based schools within a given community.


“There are lots of available services that just aren’t taken advantage of,” he said. “I can bring different perspectives to the table as to how we can get the information out there and give these families opportunities and choices.”


Dr. Guzmán now lives in Monclova Twp. with his wife Jennifer, principal at St. Joan of Arc School. The couple has two children: Miranda, 17, a senior at St. Ursula High School, and Caiden, 12, a sixth-grade student at St. Joan of Arc. Dr. Guzmán’s mother, Patricia, 72, lives in Perrysburg. His father, Gilbert, passed away several years ago.


Dr. Guzmán also tries to make a difference on that front through his volunteer work. He has served as the finance chairman on the board of directors at Adelante, Inc. and is a past president with Partners in Education, a non-profit organization which develops and fosters partnerships between area schools and northwest Ohio businesses, government agencies, organizations, and churches.


“I’d like to keep an eye on economic development and opportunities for minority businesses,” he said, citing his experience on Toledo’s economic development task force. “So I’m aware of many of the causes that Hispanics and Latinos face when trying to compete and apply for different government contracts.”


Dr. Guzmán was a Diamante award winner during the organization’s 25th anniversary gala last fall after twice being nominated for the community service award. He also has been honored for his volunteer work as a Central Cities Ministries of Toledo All-American, the “20 Under 40” Leadership Award, and was a one-time César Chávez Humanitarian nominee for service to his Latino community.


Dr. Guzmán stated he’ll seek input from the Spanish-American Organization (SAO), the Hispanic chamber of commerce, and other local groups. He said he “feels very in tune” with what is happening in the local Latino community.


“I’d like to take local Latino causes and advance them at the state level by bringing an additional voice into the conversation,” he said. “I get asked a lot whether I speak Spanish. Much like 80 percent of Latinos who are second or third generation in the United States, the answer is ‘no,’ I don’t speak Spanish. I represent a large contingent of Hispanics who don’t speak the Spanish language; however have the same challenges, issues, and fights that those Spanish-speaking people do.”


But Dr. Guzmán sounded a bit of a warning to local Latino leaders about picking their battles within the myriad of challenges facing the community.


“We have to be careful with what we want to tackle. Not everything can be solved,” he said. “We want to pick and choose our causes very carefully—and I’m going to lean on these networks and organizations here locally to advance them at the state level.”

Dr. Guzmán discovered much of his Mexican heritage late in life, because his father didn’t talk much about his family. He explained in a past La Prensa interview that “in that day and time, you weren’t proud to be a Latino or proud to be anything, for him, other than to be an American.”

His father later became a legal U.S. citizen because of his military service during the Vietnam War. Dr. Guzmán learned after his death that his father had crossed into the U.S. at Hidalgo, Texas and still has several relatives living in Jalisco, México.

On the Internet:  http://www.laprensa1.com/Stories/2015/013015/kasich.htm


On the Internet: http://www.laprensatoledo.com/Stories/2010/102910/guzman.htm


Copyright © 1989 to 2015 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02/10/15 20:03:13 -0800.




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