Top 100 Influentials 2009 - Education
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R. Alexander Acosta
R. Alexander Acosta   Dean of the College of Law, Florida International University

Joining Florida International University this summer, Dean Acosta is also the longest-serving U. S. Attorney in South Florida in more than 30 years. Under his leadership, the Southern District has successfully prosecuted such high-profile defendants as Jack Abramoff (fraud), Jose Padilla (terrorism) and Charles Taylor (torture). Through his efforts, his district has taken an innovative approach to prosecuting health care fraud.

Frank Alvarez
Frank Alvarez   President and CEO, Hispanic Scholarship Fund

With a uniquely personal appreciation for higher education, Mr. Alvarez is passionate about inspiring young Hispanic students to pursue their studies. A former community college dropout, he returned to school after his service in Vietnam, eventually earning an AA, a BA, and a Master's degree.  After serving on the board of the HSF for more than 15 years, he was unanimously selected to lead the organization in 2007.

Antonio Cepeda-Benito
Antonio Cepeda-Benito   Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost, Texas A & M University

With one main and two branch campuses, as well as three international academic centers –in far-flung locales in Italy, Mexico and Costa Rica – Dr. Cepeda-Benito has a near-global challenge to work with a diverse group of constituencies.  A tenured professor  in the fields of behavioral neuroscience and clinical psychology, he was appointed to his current position in June of this year.

Francisco Cigarroa
Francisco Cigarroa   M.D., Chancellor, The University of Texas System

Nationally known for his work as a pediatric and transplant surgeon, Dr. Cigarroa served as president of San Antonio's University of Texas Health Science Center from 2000, until his appointment in January as chancellor. He oversees a budget of some $11.5 billion; and is responsible for some 84,000 employees and 194,000 students. He volunteers on several boards, and enjoys playing classical guitar and flamenco music when he can.

Dr. William Flores
Dr. William Flores   President, University of Houston, Downtown

The fifth president in the university's 35 years, Dr. Flores was appointed to his position in August of this year. He previously served as Deputy Secretary for the New Mexico Higher Education Department and as Executive Vice President and provost of New Mexico State University, among other institutions of higher education. The co-editor of Latino Cultural Citizenship, he continues to volunteer on numerous boards and commissions.

Kris Gutierrez
Kris Gutierrez   Professor and Inaugural Provost Chair, University of Colorado, Boulder

Known across the nation in education and urban education, Professor Gutierrez has had her research published in premier academic journals – as well as a column published in the Los Angeles Times' Reading page. With issues of equity and excellence as recurring themes in her work, she is committed to improving the educational condition of Hispanic students at school and throughout the community.

David Jimenez
David Jimenez   M.D., Chairman and Professor of the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Health Science Center at San Antonio

Recognized as an expert in pediatric neurosurgery, Dr. Jimenez is known the world over for his many additional talents as well. A prolific writer and highly regarded speaker, he has been a guest on several television shows, including a profile on the Discovery Health Channel's Super Surgeon, and ABC's Good Morning America. He is licensed to practice in three states.

Darline Robles
Darline Robles   Ph.D., County Superintendent of Schools, Los Angeles County

Since 2002, Dr. Robles has led the nation's largest regional education service agency – a total of 80 school districts and some 1.7 million students. A graduate of California State University, LA; she earned her Master's Degree in education at Claremont, and her doctorate in education policy and administration at USC. Throughout her 30-year career she has focused on ensuring quality education for all children.