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Weber State hires new official to help bolster Latino enrollment

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 20, 2022

Photo supplied, Weber State University

Yudi Lewis has been hired on as Weber State's new executive director of Hispanic-Serving Institution Initiatives, the university announced Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022.

OGDEN — Weber State University has hired a new official to help spearhead university efforts to foster enrollment among the area’s burgeoning Latino population.

Yudi Lewis comes over from Utah Valley University and will serve as executive director of Weber State’s newly created Hispanic-Serving Institution Initiatives. As part of her efforts, she’ll aid in Weber State’s push to increase the number of Latino students at the school to 15% of the student body by the fall of 2025.

“This is a step toward reaching Emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution status and eventually becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, which requires a 25% Hispanic and Latino enrollment,” reads a Weber State press release.

Being a Hispanic Servicing Institution opens the door to additional federal dollars. That, university officials say, has benefits to the broader student body, not just Latinos, because of the increased staffing, support services and more the money can fund. As is, Latinos account for around 11% of university enrollment and about a third of the city of Ogden’s population.

Though bolstering Latino enrollment is a big university goal, Lewis said her role is more than just about increasing numbers of students. She’s completing a doctorate program at the University of Utah in educational leadership and policy and had been serving as head of the Latino Program Initiative at Utah Valley University in Orem, according to that school’s website.

“This is about strategically positioning the students so they can transition from high school graduation to a certificate or degree program, enabling them to work in the field they’re passionate about,” Lewis said. “That in turn will help Utah’s economy and our community.”

A $500,000 grant from Ally Financial, a digital financial services company, will help cover the cost of Lewis’ post. The funding is to be allocated over five years in $100,000 increments each year. Lewis will work under Adrienne Andrews, who heads a new division at the school called Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Brad Mortensen, the university president.


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