University of New Mexico Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Eliseo "Cheo" Torres will be recognized with the 2011 Ohtli award at a celebration of Mexico's Independence on Friday, Sept. 16 in Santa Fe. The award is given yearly by the Government of Mexico to individuals who promote the well-being of Mexicans living in the U.S.

According to the Mauricio Ibarra, Consul of Mexico, Torres was chosen because of his role as former adviser to the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME) and as a recognized promoter of the Mexican community in Albuquerque.

"I am honored to receive this prestigious award and want to share it with the many other people who help bridge the gap between the United States and Mexico—especially the many citizens of our state who have strong roots in Mexico through their culture and background," Torres said.

Torres was one of several founders of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and still remains active as a charter member of this group. HACU is the largest organization of its kind for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). Because of Torres's involvement with HACU and UNM's classification as a Carnegie Very High Research institution, the university has received a substantial amount of federal grant funding.

Torres also created the extremely popular Traditional Medicine without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico class which just completed its 11th year at UNM. The course uses healers and health practitioners from the Southwest, Mexico, and the Albuquerque community to provide information on the history of curanderismo (the art of Mexican Folk Healing). It is an integrative approach to medicine and features demonstrations that incorporate curanderismo with various traditional and holistic health techniques.

Previous recipients of the Ohtli award include former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr., president of the Hispanic Leadership Institute, UNM law professor Laura Gomez and UNM alumni, Judge Jimmie Reyna ('78) of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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