Moraine Valley Community College Trustee Eileen O’Sullivan (from left); Juan Salgado; his wife, Leticia Alzaman; MVCC President Sylvia Jenkins; and MVCC Trustee Tom Cunningham celebrate Salgado’s acceptance of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Illinois Community College Trustees Association. | Supplied photo
Updated: August 8, 2013 6:11AM
Moraine Valley Community College alumnus Juan Salgado and student Nada Omer, of Chicago Ridge, were recipients of Illinois state awards.
Salgado, CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago, won the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.
Salgado was nominated by MVCC and chosen by the association as the winner among 20 nominees.
Salgado is an influential voice at the local and national levels for his work on the educational, political and economic advancement of the Hispanic community, according to MVCC nominating officials. Under his leadership, Instituto established nationally recognized best-practice educational and workforce models. In 2009, it was recognized as the National Council of La Raza Affiliate of the Year and in 2011 as a White House Champion of Change for Social Innovation.
Salgado earned an associate degree from Moraine Valley Community College in 1989. He has a bachelor’s degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, in Bloomington, a master’s of urban planning degree, and has been accepted into the Harvard Business School’s owner manager program.
“I entered community college in search of my north star and found it. It was here I discovered a true thirst for learning,” Salgado said.
“I was still unsure of what I wanted in life, but that no longer mattered. My north star was learning, and I vowed to follow it,” he said. “I have Moraine Valley to thank for instilling in me a love of learning that has sustained throughout my lifetime.”
Omer won the Paul Simon Student Essay Contest sponsored by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.
She was awarded $500 for educational expenses at the organization’s awards luncheon in Chicago and received $500 from Moraine Valley for educational expenses for the fall semester.
Omer’s essay, “How My Community College Changed My Life,” was selected by MVCC from among 43 essays to submit into the state contest. It is a personal tale of persistence and determination. She tells the story of coming to America from Yemen without a high school diploma or driver’s license and quickly earning both with the help of Moraine Valley’s GED program and her husband. She now boasts a 4.0-grade- point average and earned a summer internship at Argonne National Laboratories.
After receiving her associate degree at Moraine Valley, Omer plans to transfer to a university to study engineering.
“I now have a 4.0 GPA and an internship to Argonne National Laboratory, a program funded by the Department of Energy for community college students, another experience I would not have gotten without Moraine Valley,” Omer wrote.