By: Sonia Feliciano – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rocio Tafur-Salgado, a Albizu University alumna and a recognized advocate of migrant families and victims of domestic violence, was awarded the University’s highest academic distinction, Doctor Honoris Causa, by Interim President Sylvia López and Miami Campus Provost Etiony Aldarondo during the 34th commencement ceremony held on December 10th, 2016.
The Doctor Honoris Causa was awarded in recognition of Tafur-Salgado’s contributions to social justice and the culture of peace over more than two decades. Born and raised in Cali, Colombia, she immigrated to the United States in 1968. In 1989, she attained a master’s degree in psychology from Albizu University, Miami Campus. She was a co-founder of M.U.J.E.R., a nonprofit organization based in Homestead, Florida, that is dedicated to serving victims of domestic violence and their families. In 2000, she and her husband founded enFAMILIA, a nonprofit that provides art and education programs to improve and preserve family life for migrants and low-income familes living in Deep South Miami-Dade Country, including Homestead, Florida City, Leisure City, and Naranja.
As an idea of the scope of work done by her organization, in 2015 enFAMILIA assisted approximately 3,000 individuals and also extended services to the rural Florida communities of Immokalee, Okeechobee, and La Belle. Among other pro-bono activities, Tafur-Salgado worked on the development of Proyecto Esperanza, a program that serves migrant families and victims of domestic violence, and has helped to develop educational empowerment curriculums for farm worker communities that address issues such as couple’s relationships, parenting, fatherhood, parent’s and children’s involvement in school, and intimate partner violence prevention programs for mothers and daughters.
During his talk at the commencement ceremony, Provost Aldarondo noted that Albizu University was founded 50 years ago with an educational philosophy centered on a commitment to social responsibility and the promotion of social justice and a culture of peace. “Today, Mrs. Tafur-Salgado is not only one of our most distinguished alumnae, but also the personification of this vision, an embodiment of our mission, and an excellent ambassador of our university in the community,” he concluded.
The Miami Campus 2016 graduating class consisted of 252 students from 20 countries, including Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia, Haiti, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic.