Two Fresno State alumni – retired Fresno State administrator Frances Peña Olgín and migrant student counselor Raúl Z. Moreno – were honored with the Bold Visionary Legacy Awards during the 42nd Chicano/Latino commencement celebration on May 19 at the Save Mart Center.
Moreno and Peña Olgín were honored for their valuable contributions and distinguished service to the Fresno State campus and the community.
Personally experiencing the hardships of the migrant student life, Moreno dedicated his career to helping and assisting other migrant students reach their academic and professional potential.
“¡Y qué vivan los inmigrantes!” said Moreno in Spanish as he accepted his award.
Moreno graduated from Fresno State with a bachelor’s in Spanish in 1984 and a master’s in applied linguistics in 1987, despite the challenges he overcame as a migrant field worker.
Moreno served as counselor for migrant students beginning in 1986.
In 1987, he was part of the team that created the University Migrant Services program at Fresno State.
From 1999 to 2015, Moreno continued as coordinator of UMS, creating numerous programs that provided outreach, admission access, retention and developmental services for migrant students, including undocumented students that were part of the Migrant Education Program.
Since 2015, Moreno has served as the coordinator of Fresno State’s Dream Outreach Center, promoting educational opportunities for Dream students and their families and advocates for the integration of Dream students in all programs, departments and services within the university and community.
Moreno is the founder and chief executive officer of the Education and Leadership Foundation, which provides education, leadership development and immigration services to the community. The foundation is recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals with eight accredited staff that provide immigration services to the community assisting more than 15,000 students with DACA applications and renewals.
He also created the Deferred Action Help Center in 2012 to inform and provide services to qualifying students.
Moreno has written several bilingual books including El Rey de la Naranja and Los Encantados, as part of his mission to increase the number of bilingual and bicultural books.
President Joseph I. Castro presented Moreno and Peña Olgín with proclamations during the ceremony.
“I know the work it takes to put this together,” said Peña Olgín of the ceremony as she accepted her award.
Peña Olgín, who grew up in the small, farmworking community of Parlier, earned both her bachelor’s in criminology in 1976 and a master’s in social work in 1979, from Fresno State.
She retired in 2015 as director of University Outreach and Recruitment which is now Fresno State Outreach and Special Programs, a position she held since 1987 and where she developed programs and initiatives to provide access to all students and especially the underserved.
During her tenure, Fresno State’s student enrollment grow to more than 24,000 students.
Peña Olgín has been an advocate for social justice issues, particularly access to higher education for students from low-income household and the farm worker rights movements.
Peña Olgín was one of the founders of the Chicano/Latino Commencement Celebration - CLCC and was instrumental in coordinating the event for the first 17 years.
“So I want to congratulate the committee, congratulate Victor Torres for all the hard work,” she said.
The CLCC has grow to be the largest celebration not only in California but in the United States.
Peña Olgín was also instrumental in the creation of the Outreach Fresno State Dream Success Center for DACA students.
Peña Olgín was also a member of the planning committee of the Chicano Alumni Fresno Club that founded the original Chicano Commencement Celebration in 1977 and helped plan it for 17 years. She currently serves on the board of the Chicano Alumni.