Posted by William Nunnelley on 2006-10-13

Dr. Juan Hernandez, president of the Organization for Hispanic Advancement and a former cabinet member of Mexican President Vicente Fox, will deliver Samford University's annual J. Roderick Davis Lecture Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in Wright Center Concert Hall. The program is open to the public free.

Hernandez was formerly director of the Office for Mexicans Abroad in the Fox cabinet, serving more than 24 million Mexicans living in foreign countries. A leading expert on Mexico-U.S. relations, Hernandez was the first U.S.-born person to hold a cabinet position in the Mexican government. Born in Dallas, Texas, he holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Mexico.

He is also founding director of the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of Texas-Dallas.

Hernandez will speak on "The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?" In his recent book of the same title, he urges America to rethink its relationship to its southern neighbor and to embrace controlled immigration as necessary to the overall economic and cultural health of the nation. The book is part of ongoing dialogue about immigration from Latin America.

He is a graduate of Lawrence University with master's and doctoral degrees from Texas Christian University.

The J. Roderick Davis Lecture honors the former dean of Samford's Howard College of Arts and Sciences. It brings nationally and internationally known speakers to the campus each fall for lectures and interaction with students and the community. This year's lecture is part of Samford's Homecoming schedule and is one of the academic events associated with the inauguration of Samford President Andrew Westmoreland.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.