Maria Echaveste, a native of Clovis who once served as a deputy chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, will join Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro to meet with120 K-12 students from her hometown 10-11 a.m. Friday, March 20, in the Kremen Education Building Room 140.

Echaveste, who is currently at the UC Berkeley School of Law, is in town to deliver one of two keynote addresses for the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation’s 13th Annual “Developing Hispanic Leaders” Gala Night at 6 p.m. Friday at the Fresno Ballroom in downtown Fresno (1058 Fulton Mall).

Delivering the other keynote at the evening event will be Antonio Villaraigosa, former mayor of Los Angeles.  Fresno State alumnus William Eric McComas will be installed as chairperson of the Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce The event is sold out.

President Castro will also speak at the gala Friday night about the University’s partnership with the FAHF membership and network. He is working with the chamber to establish an annual scholarship for University students that a portion of the gala proceeds would benefit, said Dr. Victor B. Olivares, a Fresno State counselor who is a board member of the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation.

Fresno State’s Hispanic Business Student Association (HBSA) is also participating in the gala.

For Friday morning’s event on campus, Echaveste and Castro will connect with teens from her hometown to share their experience about growing up in the valley and their accomplishments, said Frances Pena-Olgin, director of University Outreach Services who coordinated the campus visit with Debbie Para, liaison for Clovis Unified School District.

The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Echaveste attended Dry Creek Elementary while she was living in the Charlie Pruess labor camp on Minnewawa north of Shepherd Avenue, said Parra whose husband Danny is a longtime Clovis friend.

“The 120 kids from Clovis Unified will see something very few

[San Joaquin] Valley people ever dreamed of seeing – two Valley products accomplishing great successes and holding great prominence in life,” Parra said. Castro was raised in Hanford and is the first Valley native to serve as Fresno State president, as well as the first Latino. “They need to hear this message about hard work, determination, perseverance and the importance of education.”

Echaveste, who is affiliated with the Chief Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at UC Berkeley School of Law, has built a distinguished career working as a public policy consultant, lecturer, a senior White House official, long-time community leader and corporate attorney.

She founded the DC-based consulting firm NVG, LLC in 2002 (she left the firm in 2014) after serving as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for President Clinton from 1998 to 2001. Among her many roles, she focused on international issues relating to Latin America and served as the U.S. State Department’s special envoy to Bolivia in 2009. She has also been a member of the advisory board of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute and the U.S./Mexico Foundation board of directors.

Echaveste earned a bachelor of arts in anthropology from Stanford University in 1976. In 1980, she was conferred a Juris Doctor from the University of California at Berkeley.

For more information, contact Pena-Olgin at 559.278.2048 or Parra at 559.281.1264.

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