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PPCC aims to better serve hispanic community

Colorado Springs – Sept. 5, 2018 – Pikes Peak Community College will kick off Hispanic Heritage Month events with a celebration and panel discussion on Hispanic Leadership 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at PPCC's Centennial Campus Theater, 5675 S. Academy Blvd. 

Newly hired Colorado Community College System President Joe Garcia and PPCC President Lance Bolton will address attendees before participating in the panel discussion with local Hispanic leaders in education, military, business and social services. Changing demographics in our region along with equity gaps in education among Hispanics make this a hot topic for discussion. 

According to the Colorado Department of Higher Education, "Colorado’s largest and fastest-growing ethnic group, Hispanic/Latino, has the lowest average educational attainment and the lowest college enrollment rate of any ethnic group in the state.”

Pikes Peak Community College aims to help close this equity gap in higher education and, by doing so, become an official Hispanic Serving Institution. As part of this goal, PPCC is working toward increasing its Hispanic student population from 18 percent to 25 percent by 2022.

But the college's celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month isn't just about recruitment and equity-gap initiatives. It's also about embracing a rich culture that has always been part of the college and the wider community.

Hispanic Heritage Month Events
All events are free and open to the public. Media are invited to attend.

Sept. 18
Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration & Panel Discussion with CCCS President Joe Garcia
2-4 p.m., Centennial Campus, Theater and Grove
Free and open to the community

10a.m.-1 p.m.  l  CCCS President Garcia will be touring the Centennial Campus

2 p.m.  l  President Garcia and Dr. Bolton Address, Centennial Campus, Theater

2:10-3 p.m. l  Panel Discussion on Hispanic Leadership, Centennial Campus, Theater
Keith Barnes, PPCC's Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will moderate a panel of 6 Hispanic professionals in education, military, business, social services.  

3-4 p.m.  l  Fiesta, Centennial Grove

Mariachi & salsa music and Hispanic treats including pan dulce, empanadas and pupusas will be served. PPCC's Latinx Student Union will have an info table.


Sept. 22
El Cinco De Mayo Inc. 35th Annual Car Show and Fiesta
10 a.m.-5 pm., Centennial Campus, Parking Lot C
More than 200 cars on display, live music, family entertainment, food, crafts, non-profit vendors, community resources and PPCC demonstrations and admissions information. CCCS President Joe Garcia, an avid car enthusiast, may attend.
Proceeds help fund scholarships for area college students. Info: 719-330-2853, Vendors: 719-217-5673

Sept. 26

Latin Food Trucks
All PPCC Campuses


Week of Oct. 1 (date TBD)
Immigration and DACA Services and Support Event

Catholic Charities, United We Dream and others will offer information and advice. Students and family gather for an "Out of the Shadows Event" in support of those affected by DACA.

Oct. 10
Hispanic Heritage Month Parade of Nations Fiesta 
Noon-2 p.m., Centennial Campus, Aspen Building, The Grove
Performances, food and music. Students encouraged to wear clothing, flags and sports memorabilia representing and supporting Hispanic heritage.

Joe Garcia is the President of the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). Prior to his role at CCCS, Garcia served two years as President of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (“WICHE”) from June 2016 to June 2018. From 2011 to 2016, he served as the Lt. Governor of Colorado and as the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. 

From 2006 to 2010, he was President of Colorado State University-Pueblo, which was named the 2008 Outstanding Member Institution by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. From 2001 to 2006, Garcia was President of Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado’s second largest community college. During his time at PPCC, he was twice recognized as President of the Year by Colorado students and several minority and student focused organizations, such as the NAACP and Phi Theta Kappa. 

Garcia’s previous public service positions included serving as a member of the Cabinet of Governor Roy Romer and as a White House appointee under President Bill Clinton. He was the first Hispanic partner in the 100-year history of Denver based Holme Roberts & Owen where he focused on public education law. 

Garcia earned his Juris Doctorate (1983) and completed the John F. Kennedy School of Government program at Harvard University, and received his Bachelor of Science in International Business (1979) from University of Colorado at Boulder. Garcia has four grown children and is married to Dr. Claire Oberon Garcia, an English professor at Colorado College.


Established in 1968 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, PPCC offers associate degrees, certifications in career and technical fields and its first bachelor degree in emergency services administration starting fall 2018. With three campuses, two learning centers and two military education centers, PPCC provides access to a quality, affordable and flexible education to 19,000 students annually.