Hodges University Announces Second Finalist for Position of President

PC 2016 Pedraja

The board of trustees of Hodges University is pleased to announce the second finalist for the position of president, Dr. Luis Pedraja, vice president for Academic Affairs at Antioch University in Los Angeles.

Dr. Pedraja will be on the Hodges campuses on Friday, Feb. 5. Two special events for the community and alumni have been scheduled:

RSVP required (abuitrago@hodges.edu)
Fort Myers Campus – 4501 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33966
7:30-8:30 a.m. H Building – Kleist Community Room (364)
Light breakfast will be served.

Open forum, no RSVP
Naples Campus – 2655 Northbrooke Drive, Naples, FL 34119
5:30-6:30p.m. Stock Building – John White Community Room

A native of Cuba, at age eight, Pedraja emigrated with his parents to Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. Support from his family and community empowered Dr. Pedraja to become the first in his family to attend college. He earned a B.A. from Stetson University and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Focusing on Latino perspectives, Dr. Pedraja published several books and numerous scholarly articles exploring how understanding language and culture can promote intercultural dialogue and tolerance. He taught philosophy, ethics and religious studies at the University of Puget Sound and Southern Methodist University before entering university administration. Since becoming a dean and provost, Dr. Pedraja has continued to mentor Latino doctoral candidates, and he served as president of La Comunidad of Hispanic American Scholars in the area of religious studies.

Converting his scholarship to action, Dr. Pedraja advocates passionately in the national media for increasing access to higher education for minority and marginalized populations who have been underserved historically by the American higher education system. Dr. Pedraja has recently been quoted on this topic in publications including the Associated Press, Huffington Post, and International Business Times.

Currently, Dr. Pedraja is provost and vice president of academic affairs at Antioch University Los Angeles, a nonprofit institution serving adult students through degree completion and professional graduate programs in psychology, education, nonprofit management, sustainability and creative writing. At Antioch, Dr. Pedraja has led projects that have created new competency-based, hybrid online graduate programs and undergraduate degree opportunities in applied studies and criminal justice, as well as on-site degree completion programs at community colleges and an early college program providing university level courses at local high schools. These innovative programs provide clear pathways to college for K-12 students in underserved communities and help adult students to achieve new professional goals or advance their current careers.

Before joining Antioch, Dr. Pedraja was vice president for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education from 2004-2011, where he oversaw the accreditation of more than 100 universities in Puerto Rico and the Mid-Atlantic region. In that position, Dr. Pedraja continued to champion intercultural dialogue by leading the first program to grant American accreditation to foreign universities, including institutions in South America and Asia. Based on this unique expertise, universities in the United States, Asia and Europe have since retained Dr. Pedraja to guide them on conforming to high American standards for strategic planning, assessment and quality assurance in higher education.

Outside of his academic life, Dr. Pedraja has volunteered extensively with the American Red Cross Disaster Services and local emergency management office. He has also served on the boards of several nonprofits and cofounded two such organizations, one focused on animal rescue and the other on assisting families of cancer patients. Dr. Pedraja, who has family in Naples, resides in Los Angeles with his wife and 12-year-old daughter.

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