Students smiling at UCI School of Social Ecology commencement
A federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, UCI boasts about 7,000 Latino undergraduates, most of them first-generation college students. Steve Zylius / UCI

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 29, 2022 — The University of California, Irvine has announced the formation of the UCI-OC Alliance to engage and support Latino students, staff and faculty. An early 2021 initiative of the trustees of the UCI Foundation board, the community alliance is a university-driven engagement strategy to advance UCI as a Latino-thriving institution. Its goal is to align its work with existing programs and structures on campus to enhance the experience of UCI students.

“UCI has a strong commitment to the development of Latino/a students, the enrichment of Orange County and pathbreaking research on matters Latino,” said Dean Yoost, foundation trustee. “The alliance is a community initiative that aligns with and intends to augment UCI’s existing programs and initiatives.”

UCI has held the distinction of being a Hispanic-Serving Institution for the past five years – a U.S. Department of Education designation signifying, among other things, that fully one-quarter of undergraduates identify as Latino. UCI’s enrollment of Hispanic students has grown steadily over the past decade from about 4,000 to 7,000. In 2019, to support this population, UCI opened a Latinx Resource Center.

One aim of the UCI-OC Alliance is to enhance the relationship of Latino community leaders with the university through communication, collaboration and engagement with the UCI administration and support groups, as well as participation in and active support of Latino events and programs on campus.

“We have relationships with organizations throughout Orange County for research, business, philanthropy and more,” said Marilyn Sutton, foundation trustee. “We want to re-engage these relationships with our student demographics to build synergy and increase engagement across the county.”

“The UCI-OC Alliance increases engagement and support for students with relationships, mentoring and scholarships,” said Stephanie Reyes-Tuccio, assistant vice chancellor for educational partnerships. “Our goal has always been to move beyond Hispanic-serving, to be a Hispanic-thriving institution. That means offering our students resources and opportunities to make the most of their experiences here at UCI and prepare them for success after graduation.”

A tangible product of the UCI-OC Alliance is the creation of the Latinx Resources Database, cataloging in one place all the services, programs and resources at UCI dedicated to enhancing the Latino experience, including outreach efforts, academic initiatives and retention programs. The database is available to anyone: students, faculty looking to work with other faculty, community members looking to engage and support, city government, and K-12 students and their families.

“More than 135 programs tell the story of how UCI provides student support, academic preparation programs and community opportunities for Latinx students,” said adelí durón, director of UCI’s Latinx Resource Center. “Although the database encompasses all resources open to all who want to participate, many are mission-driven to serve in Latinx communities through essential programs and services.”

The UCI-OC Alliance has already raised $410,000 in scholarship funds from local companies and created dozens of new internships.

“UCI and UCI Health are major positive forces in our extended Orange County community,” said Gaddi Vasquez, foundation trustee. “The UCI-OC Alliance convenes strong leaders in support of the university with the focused goal of enhancing the student experience.”

In addition to being a Hispanic-Serving Institution, UCI is a Hispanic-serving research university that aspires to double the number of Hispanic and Latino doctoral students and grow the number of Latino faculty members by 20 percent by 2030. Chancellor Howard Gillman is a founding member of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities and the first UC chancellor elected to the governing board of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.

UCI is the No. 2 choice of Latino high school seniors and transfer students from community colleges among all UC campuses. Nearly 4 out of 5 Latino students at UCI are first-generation college students. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 39 percent of California residents are Latino; and more than half (55 percent) of the state’s K-12 students identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to

The UCI-OC Alliance now has 40 members – community partners and ambassadors who work at the intersections of multiple communities and are committed to advancing Latino students and programs at UCI. Eight of the members are UCI alumni.

UCI’s Brilliant Future campaign: Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, UCI’s Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for the university. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. Learn more at

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit

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