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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 2:30 am | Fair 45º


Hancock College Vice President Nohemy Ornelas to Receive Latino Legacy Award

Nohemy Ornelas

Allan Hancock College Associate Superintendent and Vice President, Student Services Nohemy Ornelas will receive a first-of-its-kind award in recognition of her commitment to student success.

Ornelas has been nominated to receive the 2016 Latino Legacy Award for making a difference in the Santa Maria community.

“I am truly honored and humbled by the award,” said Ornelas. “I really see this recognition as a testament to the dedicated faculty and staff at Hancock, and to the college as a whole.”

A group of community members created the Latino Legacy Awards to celebrate and promote the hard work and dedication that goes on in the Santa Maria Valley. A nine-member committee selected 10 honorees who cover a wide spectrum that includes public safety, education, business and more.

“We started these awards because we wanted to recognize different sources of leadership in the community,” said Patricia Solorio, chairperson of the Latino Legacy Awards committee. “Nohemy and our other honorees go above and beyond the call of duty every day.”

Ornelas oversees various support services, programs and departments and manages state and federal grants. She spearheaded the Bridges to Success program to enhance student success among incoming freshmen from area high schools.

“Nohemy works tirelessly to create opportunities for our community,” said Allan Hancock College Superintendent and President Kevin G. Walthers, Ph.D. “She restored our outreach and partnership efforts with every high school in our district. Nohemy is leading Hancock’s effort to change the odds for northern Santa Barbara County.”

Ornelas has a long history with the college. She first attended while in high school as part of the college’s dual enrollment program.

She graduated from Hancock and transferred to UC Santa Barbara where she earned a bachelor’s degree in law and society. Later, she received a master’s in education from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Ornelas said she discovered her passion for working in education early in her career when she was a financial aid specialist and counseling assistant at Hancock. Years later, the passion remains.

“I love my job,” added Ornelas. “By advocating for students and creating pathways for them to succeed, I want to make a difference, and I hope that I am.”

Ornelas and the nine other recipients will be honored during an awards banquet Sunday, March 20, 2016, at the Radisson Hotel Santa Maria. The event begins at 11 a.m. Tickets are still available online at www.latinolegacyawards.org.

“The Latino Legacy Awards are about what you have done and what you are yet to do,” said Allan Hancock College Trustee Hilda Zacarías. “Nohemy, through her personal and professional accomplishments, represents that legacy. She has made a significant impact for students since her appointment as vice president at Hancock, and I look forward to her future successes.”

All proceeds will benefit Central Coast Future Leaders, a youth-led organization in Santa Maria that supports the development of youth and families.

The organization promotes leadership, education, community service and personal development. 

For more information about the 2016 Latino Legacy Awards, visit www.latinolegacyawards.org or call the Central Coast Future Leaders at 805.925.1010.

Gina Herlihy is a public affairs and publications technician at Allan Hancock College.

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