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Enríquez-Ornelas ’08 Named Director of Latino Partnerships

Wabash College alumnus and Visiting Associate Professor of Spanish Julio Enríquez-Ornelas ’08 has been appointed the inaugural Director of Latino Partnerships at the College and will begin his tenure on June 1.

“We are incredibly fortunate to hire Dr. Enríquez-Ornelas as Director of our new Latino Community Center,” said Todd McDorman, Dean of the College and Professor of Rhetoric. “Julio emerged as our top choice from a deep and talented pool and is ideally suited for this multi-faceted role. His hiring is as momentous as it is exciting due to what it represents in Wabash’s support for our Latino students and our commitment to strengthening our connection with Crawfordsville and the local Latino community. I look forward to seeing the Center bloom under his leadership.”

Julio Enríquez-Ornelas ’08In this new role, Enríquez-Ornelas will serve as an advisor to La Alianza, the Wabash student organization dedicated to celebrating Latin American culture; direct activities at the new Latino Community Center; and work with Assistant Director Chris Keller to form meaningful partnerships with Latino community members in Montgomery County.

When he arrived as a student at Wabash in the Fall of 2004, Enríquez-Ornelas was an undocumented first-generation student from Salinas, California. He was a double major in English and Spanish and graduated from the College in 2008.

“From the beginning of my time at Wabash, I took it upon myself to build a partnership with local stakeholders in the Latino community,” Enríquez-Ornelas said. “I envision the Latino Community Center as a space that serves the needs and dreams of the Latino population in Crawfordsville and helps build sustainable partnerships. I also look forward to working with our students to further develop partnerships that help our young men serve as leaders in the Latino community.”

He earned a master’s degree in Hispanic Literature and Culture and his Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of California, Riverside. He was a postdoctoral fellow of Latin American Literature and Culture at the University of Tennessee in 2014-15.

Enríquez-Ornelas is in his first year as a member of the faculty at Wabash after spending nine years teaching at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, where he earned tenure. While at Millikin, he chaired the department of modern languages and served as coordinator for the global studies and Spanish education programs. He also served on the President’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee, the Marketing and Enrollment Committee, and was the faculty advisor to the Latin American Student Organization.

Recently, he was a collaborator on a Latino encyclopedia that was named to the 2024 Outstanding References Sources List from the American Library Association. Enríquez-Ornelas contributed an essay to “Latino Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students,” one of 10 references to be honored by the Collection Development and Evaluation Section of the Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. Enríquez-Ornelas’ essay focused on the millennial undocumented experience.Enríquez-Ornelas will work with students in La Alianza to develop programming for the organization and for community partnerships, which will be based out of the new Latino Community Center.

“In the classroom, having students congratulate me and show interest in my writing is a full-circle moment because when I first arrived at Wabash College as an undocumented student, never in a million years did I imagine I would be back here as a professor,” he said. “Having a community that recognizes your work and celebrates your contributions to the field of education is the best feeling because you realize your words matter and they are impacting those who read them.”  

Enríquez-Ornelas will transition into his role as Director of Latino Partnerships and Advisor to La Alianza after classes end this spring. He will work with students in La Alianza to develop programming for the organization and for community partnerships, which will be based out of the new Latino Community Center.

The Latino Community Center will be located at the intersection of Wabash and Grant avenues. It will serve as both a link between the campus and the community and a representation of a relationship to grow and strengthen.

The renovation of the facility–and Enríquez-Ornelas’ position–are generously funded by a Lilly Endowment Inc. College and Community Collaboration grant.

“As we move forward during this exciting time for Wabash, especially for Latino men on campus, now more than ever, it seems like the time has come to finally be embedded in the everyday fabric on campus and in the community,” Enríquez-Ornelas said.