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    Shown above left to right, front row, are: Christine Celestino Boes, Yolanda Flores, Manny Vadillo, Robert Torres, Roberta Avalos, and Mardi Losoya Rush; back row:  Connie Weaver, Marsha Olivares, Raquel Guzmán, Marcos Rivera, & Carmen Rivera—La Prensa Photo taken at BGSU, Bolwing Green, Ohio.

BGSU’s Manuel Vadillo retires

By Fletcher Word

La Prensa Staff Writer

When Bettina Shuford, Ph.D., assistant director for Student Affairs and director of the Center for Multicultural and Academic Initiatives (CMAI), arrived at Bowling Green State University back in 1993 to complete her doctoral studies, one name she kept hearing around campus was that of Manny Vadillo, she recalled last week at Vadillo’s retirement party.

By 1993, Manuel Vadillo had been on the BGSU campus for 15 years and was already a bit of a legend.

Last week, waves of students, staff, and faculty poured into the admissions’ building on campus to say hasta luego to a man who will be retiring after almost 27 years of “reach[ing] out to students and encourage[ing] them to perform at their optimal level,” according to Shuford.

Vadillo came to BGSU in 1978 as a Spanish-English interpreter from the Ohio State Department of Health. He moved to the Office of Multicultural Affairs in 1985 to become director of Student Services and became the associate director of Multicultural Affairs and Student Services in 1995.

He retires as senior associate director of CMAI.

During his time at the university, Vadillo founded the Latino Networking Committee, edited the first bilingual LNC newsletter, facilitated the first Latino Awareness Week, started the Latino Student Union (LSU) graduate chapter, founded the Latino Alumni Society, and initiated many conferences on inclusion and diversity.

Vadillo’s retirement ceremony was comprised of a series of tributes from the people at the institution whose lives he affected—the students also enjoyed roasting him.

Rolando Andrade, associate professor in the department of Ethnic Studies lauded Vadillo’s ability “to work with students.” Said Andrade, “You’re going to be missed—the students are certainly going to miss you.”

“I’m thankful that you provided us with so much knowledge, so much wisdom, so much power,” said student Hector Hernández, president of LSU.

“He brought out in me an ambition I didn’t know I had,” said graduate student Alexis Deanda. “Because of that influence I think I am a success.”

The ceremony culminated in a stirring vocal rendition of the Carole King classic “You’ve Got a Friend” by CMAI staff member Sheila Brown.

According to Toledo Board of Education member-elect Robert Torres, a graduate of BGSU, “Manuel Vadillo is to BGSU as Woody Hayes is to Ohio State University.  The two are inseparable.  

“There are few Latino graduates of BGSU who cannot say they were not touched by the person, professional and friend that is Manuel ‘Manny’ Vadillo.  

“As a counselor and advisor, he had a particular interest in the academic success of Latino youth.  He took students like myself and others under his wing and gave us guidance, support, and encouragement until our date of graduation.  He and his wife Robin opened their home to students who longed for a home-cooked meal, a traditional holiday gathering, or simply a place to study away from the dorms. 

“His philosophy of the world, particularly from a Latino perspective, has rubbed off on many of his students including José Treviño, myself, and others. 

“Don’t worry Manny...your teaching has prepared us not to be influenced by those elements that strip our person of our true cultural identity.  God bless you and your family in your new home in Florida. 

“Your family in Northwest Ohio will always remember your service to Bowling Green State University.  A scholarship in your name is the least that we can do to carry on your tradition of supporting Latino youth.  Hasta La Victoria,” concluded Torres. 

For those interested in contributing to the scholarship, contact CMAI at BGSU.





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