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North Star Unearthed at Moraine Valley
Graduate gives kudos for instilling love of learning


Juan Salgado always knew he wanted to do something big with his life, but little did he realize he would become a national influence in the advancement of the quality of life for Latino families.

The constant has been his determination. And, his belief in education, a motivating force that guided him through Dwight D. Eisenhower High School on to earning an Associate in Science degree from Moraine Valley Community College, a bachelor’s degree in economics from Illinois Wesleyan University, and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Twenty-five years have passed since I was at Moraine Valley, and nothing has changed. The determination I had when I was at this campus has only grown. The confidence in my ability to execute greater, the thirst to learn never satisfied, and my belief in the human spirit boundary less,” Salgado said in his 2014 commencement keynote speech at Moraine Valley.

Salgado went on to be named a participant in the Owner/President Management Program at the Harvard Business School, the Distinguished Alumnus Award winner for Moraine Valley and the Illinois Community Colleges Trustees Association in 2013, and an advisor to the President of Mexico through the Institute for Mexicans Abroad.

Recognized as an influential voice at the local and national levels for his work on the educational, political and economic advancement of the Latino community, Salgado serves as president of Instituto del Progresso Latino, an organization that significantly impacts the lives of Latino families seeking self-sufficiency in Chicago. Under his leadership, the Instituto has become a flourishing education center providing high-quality programs in workforce development, adult education, English and Spanish literacy, youth after-school and college-preparation programs, and citizenship to nearly 12,000 Chicagoans annually. His guidance also contributed to the Instituto being cited as the National Council of La Raza Affiliate of the Year in 2009 and as a White House Champion of Change for Social Innovation in 2011.

While he has come far from his beginnings, he always remembers where it started. On his most recent trip to Moraine Valley’s campus, Salgado purchased a Moraine Valley sweat shirt at the Bookstore to show his pride. “I entered community college in search of my North Star and found it. My North Star was learning, and I vowed to follow it,” he said. “I’m still following my star, and I have Moraine Valley to thank for instilling in me a love of learning.”

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