DePaul University’s Latin American and Latino Studies program has named award-winning investigative reporter Maria Hinojosa, a leading voice for America’s Latino community, its new Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Chair. The president and CEO of The Futuro Media Group and anchor/executive producer of the nationally syndicated National Public Radio (NPR) program “Latino USA,” begins her appointment this fall.
DePaul will welcome Hinojosa at a 6 p.m. public reception and talk on Oct. 4 to be held at the DePaul Art Museum, 935 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago. The program also will include a screening of the film “America by the Numbers with Maria Hinojosa: Clarkson, Georgia” which details how the nation’s evolving demographics might shape the 2012 elections.
In April 2010, Hinojosa launched The Futuro Media Group with the mission to produce multi-platform, community-based journalism that respects and celebrates the cultural richness of the American experience. As the anchor and executive producer of Latino USA, and anchor of the Emmy Award- winning talk show “Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One” from WGBH/ La Plaza, Hinojosa has long played a central role in educating the American public about the complexity and growing influence of the nation’s diverse Latino community. Hinojosa also is internationally recognized for her work on women’s issues and the impact of poverty and violence on children and adolescents. Her work has raised awareness of issues such as child marriages and the social impact of imprisonment on youth and has spurred reform efforts in the United States and abroad.
Hinojosa replaces Cuban-American writer Achy Obejas in the professorship that DePaul established more than a decade ago for Latino writers. The chair is named in honor of the 17th-century Mexican nun who is revered as one of the earliest advocates for a woman’s right to education.
“I am honored to be appointed Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Chair and look forward to becoming part of the DePaul University community. This is a special event not only because it brings me back to the city where I was raised and that created my Latina identity, but it also ensures that I can deepen my relationship with the young people today, this time as a professor in a classroom. This position also lets me bring the national media content my company is producing into a higher presence. I believe Chicago and the Midwest are hugely important in leading the way to a new conversation about the new America mainstream.”
Born in Mexico City and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Hinojosa has documented the story of Latinos in America throughout her more than 25 years in broadcasting. In addition to anchoring “Latino USA” since 1993, she was the first Latina hired at NPR in Washington and became the first Latina correspondent for the CNN network. Since 2005, she also has been senior correspondent for the broadcast news magazine “NOW” on the Public Broadcasting Service and anchor of “Maria Hinojosa: One on One” from WGBH/La Plaza in Boston.
“Maria Hinojosa has long been one of America’s most important journalists and a voice for the voiceless who has chronicled the diversity and vibrancy of America’s Latino community while also exposing social and economic injustice in the United States and around the world,” said Charles Suchar, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, whose college is home to the Latin American and Latino Studies program.
“Maria Hinojosa exemplifies exactly what the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Chair is all about. She is an inspirational public intellectual committed to increasing awareness about the diverse and complex reality of Latino lives. The Latin American and Latino Studies program is proud to have her as a member of our faculty and we know that our students and the DePaul community will be enriched by their interactions with her,” said Lourdes Torres, director of DePaul’s Latin American and Latino Studies program.
Hinojosa has won top honors in American journalism, including the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged and the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club for best documentary for her groundbreaking “Child Brides: Stolen Lives.” In 2009, Hinojosa was honored with an American Women in Radio and Television Gracie Award for Individual Achievement as Best TV correspondent.
She also has received the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council of la Raza and was inducted into the “She Made It” Hall of Fame at the Paley Center/Museum of Television and Radio. The Paley distinction honors women trailblazers in the media.
Hinojosa’s many journalism awards also include four Emmys, one in 2002 for coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and a second in 2008 for her work on “Taxing the Poor,” which documented the plight of the poor in Alabama. Also in 2008, her “NOW” program “Child Brides: Stolen Lives” was named best TV documentary by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She has long been named one of the “100 Most Influential Latinos in the United States” by Hispanic Business magazine.
An accomplished author, Hinojosa chronicled her personal experience as a Mexican-American career woman, wife and mother in her critically acclaimed memoir, “Raising Raul: Adventures Raising Myself and My Son,” published in 2000. In 1995, she published “Crews: Gang Members Talk with Maria Hinojosa,” a book based on her award-winning NPR report that showed how prison has become a rite of passage for young men of all races. She also has contributed essays to several books, including “Why I Stay Married” and “Borderline Personalities.”
With more than 25,000 students, DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, nonprofit university in the Midwest. The university offers approximately 275 graduate and undergraduate programs of study on three Chicago and three suburban campuses. Founded in 1898, DePaul remains committed to providing a quality education through personal attention to students from a wide range of backgrounds. For more information, visit www.depaul.edu.