In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate the wide-ranging accomplishments of Hispanic Marquette alumni
Griselda Aldrete, Arts ’02, Law ’17
Griselda and her sister were born in Milwaukee but moved to Mexico, where she spent her early childhood before returning to the area at age 11. The experience allowed her to be a native Spanish speaker and has helped strengthen her bond with the Milwaukee Hispanic community.
Today, she is the director of stakeholder engagement at Alliant Energy. She’s previously served as president and CEO of the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee and executive director of the City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission in addition to teaching at Marquette as an adjunct professor.
Griselda’s experience at Marquette has had a lasting impact on her. “Marquette taught me about servant leadership and challenging yourself always,” she says. “Be ethical, work hard and remember to give back.”
Juan Alsace, Arts ‘80
Juan received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy from Marquette and his law degree from the University of Minnesota before joining the Foreign Service.
Juan is also a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College and has served in Istanbul, Turkey, and several Washington assignments. He has been posted to Karachi, Santo Domingo, and Quito, Ecuador, and has received several State Department Awards, including three Superior Honor Awards and four Meritorious Honor Awards.
Now retired, Juan most recently served as a senior U.S. Government representative in Canada’s commercial, cultural, financial and media capital, where he helped develop and implement a strategic plan to improve cross-border cooperation on the use and protection of Great Lakes waters. His work on cross-border water issues was recognized by Water Canada and the Council for the Great Lakes Region.
Currently, Alsace sits as board vice president for Milwaukee Riverkeeper, an initiative focused on protecting and advocating for water quality, riparian wildlife habitat and sound land management in the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic River Watersheds.
Pedro Colón, Arts ’91
Pedro is a Milwaukee jurist and politician who currently serves as a judge of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Pedro was the first Latino elected to the Wisconsin Legislature after previously serving as a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing the 8th Assembly District, from 1999 to 2010. In 2010, he was appointed as a circuit judge by Governor Jim Doyle.
Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Pedro grew up on the South Side of Milwaukee and graduated from Thomas More High School. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.
Jameson P. Delgadillo, Bus Ad ’96
Jamie is the managing director at Northwestern Mutual in Hawaii after previously owning and operating Liberty Tax Service income tax preparation franchises with his wife, Sarah.
“Marquette’s mission of service to others has stuck with me throughout my career,” Jamie says. “I’m crazy motivated by leaving a legacy for my children, their children and our community.”
So much so, in fact, that he and Sarah made a commitment long ago to immerse themselves in philanthropy. They have supported organizations such as Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, the Skylight Music Theatre, INROADS, the United Community Center and many more. And Jamie served as the emerging leaders council co-chair for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.
Micabil (Mike) Diaz-Martinez, Arts ’86, Law ’89
Mike received the Hoban-Davenport Award from Disabled American Veterans of Wisconsin in recognition of service in the advancement of employment opportunities for disabled veterans. He also received the Hispanic Man of the Year award from United Migrant Opportunities Services for advocacy on behalf of the state’s Hispanic community.
Mike is an assistant district attorney in the Trempealeau County District Attorney’s Office, where he analyzes assigned cases, prepares cases for trial, interviews victims and witnesses to collect evidence to prosecute and trains staff on legal issues and goals, among other duties.
Mike has previously worked for the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and the state of Wisconsin. He’s served as president of the Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association.
Jorge Garcia, Bus Ad ’08
When he was applying to universities, Jorge — like many other first-generation college students — felt overwhelmed. Through his work today in Chicago Public Schools, he’s helping other students navigate the same process that daunted him years ago.
Jorge has a passion for providing support to first-generation students with their post-secondary plans, which he’s followed while in his current position and with Instituto del Progreso Latino.
“An alum who graduated in 2012 visited me on a particularly difficult day and shared that he had been awarded a scholarship that would help him continue his studies at a four-year university,” Jorge recalls. “Given his undocumented status, he didn’t qualify for federal or state aid and was relying on scholarships and working to pay for school. His message was validation from the universe letting me know that I was where I was needed.”
His experience at Marquette had an incredibly positive impact on him. “Had it not been for great supporters like my CommUNITY family and mentors like Jocelyn Sideco and Eva Martinez-Powells, I don’t think graduation would have been a reality,” he says.
Nancy Hernandez, Grad ’02
Nancy Hernandez was elected to the Marquette University Board of Trustees in 2014. She is the president and founder of ABRAZO Multicultural Marketing and Communication, a leading integrated marketing firm dedicated to connecting companies, institutions and organizations with Hispanic, African-American and Asian audiences.
Nancy developed the business plan that became ABRAZO while completing her Marquette MBA and has grown her agency into the region’s premier Hispanic/women-owned marketing company. Along the way, Nancy has received The Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award, the Biz Times Innovator Award and the Marquette College of Business Alumni Entrepreneurial Award, and her company was named the 2004 Hispanic Business of the Year by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin.
Nancy is the president of the Hispanic Collaborative, where she leads the coordination of more than 150 organizations and individuals seeking to improve economic opportunities and representation among Latinos in the region. The Hispanic Collaborative was established with a grant from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and is based out of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s offices.
Nancy is additionally a founding member and past president of the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, past president of TEMPO Milwaukee and has served on the executive committee of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin.
Martina Ibáñez-Baldor, Comm ‘15
Martina graduated from Marquette with a Bachelor of Journalism and Spanish for the Professions. She is currently celebrating a promotion to deputy design director for Latino initiatives at the Los Angeles Times.
Martina was previously a senior art director leading art direction for L.A. Times Plants and the Latinx Files newsletter. She joined The Times in 2015 as a Metpro fellow and worked on various sections, including main news, California, Opinion, Business and Entertainment.
She was the lead art director for the Food section when it relaunched in 2019. She has also spearheaded projects such as the Chicano Moratorium zine and the Día de Muertos digital altar and created the series Plant PPL that highlights people of color in the plant world.
Before joining The Times, Martina worked for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Milwaukee Magazine. She also studied graphic design at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. She is looking forward to continuing to elevate the voices of Latinos and underrepresented communities in Los Angeles and finding new, creative ways of storytelling.
Pascual Rodriguez, Arts ’97
Pascual Rodriguez graduated from Marquette after earning both his bachelor’s degree in sociology and education and one of the most important awards bestowed upon students, the Leadership Award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Service from the Division of Student Affairs.
Since then, Pascual has made education his life’s vocation and has committed to serving children in Milwaukee’s Hispanic and Southside communities.
While earning a master’s degree, Pascual worked as a social studies teacher at Milwaukee’s Bay View High School and served as an adviser for the United Latino Club. He was named assistant principal at Bruce Guadalupe Community School in 2001, and then principal in 2002. In 2021, he was named executive principal of La Casa de Esperanza Charter School.
“Nothing is more fulfilling than experiencing the educational development of students,” he says.
In addition to serving his community through education and sports, Pascual is an active volunteer. His contributions to the community were honored in 2003 when Pascual was awarded one of The Business Journal of Milwaukee’s “40 under 40” awards, in recognition of professional achievement before the age of 40.
Virgilio Rodriguez, Jr., Prof St ’09
Virgilio is the vice president of programs for Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America of South Florida, a national non-profit network of employment and training programs with a goal of helping the disadvantaged realize their true potential.
Virgilio’s work helping others has stretched across opportunities with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, HISPA International, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, Mount Mary University, Prospanica Milwaukee and the United Community Center. Under Virgilio’s leadership, the UCC was named one of the top 25 Hispanic nonprofit organizations by Hispanic Business Magazine.
Francesca Mayca Wegner, Bus Ad ‘13, Grad ‘19
Francesca graduated from Marquette with a Bachelor of Science in business administration, international business and marketing, and a Master of Business Administration.
From 2014 to 2018, she returned to Marquette as the advancement associate of Planned Giving and Parent Family Leadership Council, where she advanced Marquette’s philanthropic efforts. Now, she is the executive director of HPGM.
HPGM was formed with the vision of showcasing Hispanic talent in the Milwaukee area and providing professionals with the support they need to reach increasing levels of success in their careers. The organization’s mission is to create a dynamic environment for Hispanic professionals to thrive by fostering leadership, mentoring, education, networking and new initiatives that support Hispanics and Hispanic businesses.
Outside of her work, Wegner’s passions carry into her volunteer work. She volunteers at a nonprofit organization Hispanic Collaborative, which focuses on working collaboratively with the broader community to advance outcomes for Latinos in the region and move Milwaukee into a Top-10 City on the Hispanic Well-Being Index, and she is a board member on Marquette’s Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) Community Advisory Board.
Inspired by her mom, who Wegner says, “came to the U.S. with nothing but ambition and a dream,” Wegner has made her mark on Milwaukee. In 2021, the Milwaukee Business Journal recognized her for her work as a top Hispanic professional of Greater Milwaukee.