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Dr. Rito Silva selected to participate in the 2022 Millennium Leadership Initiative

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Dr. Rito Silva, Vice President of Enrollment Services and Student Affairs, has been selected to participate in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) 2022 Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI).

MLI is a premier leadership development program that provides individuals traditionally underrepresented in the highest ranks of postsecondary education with the opportunity to develop skills, gain a philosophical overview, and build the network and knowledge needed to advance to the presidency.

“Dr. Silva is a leader with endless energy, passion for our students and their dreams, and the wisdom of how to approach challenges, said Dr. James Hallmark, Interim Texas A&M-Kingsville President and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the Texas A&M University System. “The Millennium Leadership Institute will provide a great opportunity for Dr. Silva to advance his skills and knowledge, benefiting the Texas A&M University Kingsville community and all other colleges and universities he may lead in the future.”

For Silva, the program presents an opportunity to further develop professional skills alongside a premier organization with which his personal mission aligns well.

“I am very passionate about the mission of higher education and the effect it has on not just our students, but their families and the greater community,” Silva said. “Being able to work side by side with 21 extraordinary colleagues from across the nation for the next year is going to be amazing. I will be able to learn initiatives and strategies from them to help serve our students better.”

Silva, a Javelina alum who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M-Kingsville, began serving in his current role in June 2021. A native of Alice, TX, Silva launched his three-decade-long career in higher education as an academic counselor at Texas A&M-Kingsville in 1990.

The face-to-face program begins with an intensive four-day institute in Washington D.C. followed by virtual monthly meetings and coaching opportunities from mentors.
With the increasing challenges facing today’s college and university presidents, the 2022 MLI will serve as a pilot year to bolster the qualitative dimension of the curriculum.

“This year will bring an enhanced program that will inform and empower MLI cohorts to be better, more egalitarian leaders, attuned to the imperatives of a full promise democracy,” said John S. Wilson Jr., MLI’s executive director. “We believe this will only enhance AASCU’s annual success in shaping ideal leaders for America’s college and university campuses.”

Since its inception 23 years ago, 694 participants have graduated from MLI. One-fifth of MLI graduates have become a president or chancellor, and more than one-third have advanced significantly to other leadership positions within higher education, including at the state level.

“AASCU unequivocally supports the cultivation of diverse leaders in higher education, and MLI reinforces the vital role diversity plays in the institutional mission,” said Mildred García, AASCU president. “I am proud to be an MLI alumnae from the very first class in 1999. My experience helped shaped me to be the leader I am today.”

View the 2022 cohort here.

About AASCU

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington, D.C.-based higher education association of nearly 400 public colleges, universities, and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations, and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. These are institutions Delivering America’s Promise.

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