Dr. Sergio Gonzalez, assistant professor of Latinx studies in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, was named the 2022 Hispanic Man of the Year by UMOS, a nonprofit advocacy organization that provides programs and services that improve the employment, educational, health and housing opportunities of underserved populations.
Gonzalez was recognized for his invaluable work on the contributions of early Latino migrant and immigrant families, and his lifelong commitment to community service. Award finalists will be honored at the UMOS Hispanic Awards Banquet, an annual event honoring the contributions of Wisconsin Hispanics to their communities; recipients were announced in January.
“On behalf of the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, I want to congratulate Dr. Gonzalez for this well-deserved honor,” said Dr. Heidi Bostic, dean of the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences. “Through his research and scholarship, Dr. Gonzalez has stood out as a leader in his field. He has also demonstrated a commitment to transform the world in which he lives and to be a man for and with others—which the Marquette community is called to do as part of our Catholic, Jesuit mission.”
Gonzalez is a historian who focuses on 20th-century U.S. immigration, labor, religion and the development of Latino communities in the U.S. Midwest. The Wisconsin Historical Society Press published his seminal graduate studies’ research, “Mexicans in Wisconsin.” In an age rampant with anti-immigrant misinformation, Gonzalez says, the book relates how a vibrant and resilient immigrant Mexican population, since the 19th century, settled into urban and rural Wisconsin communities. The book anchors the next generation of immigrant and migrant struggles against prejudice, access to education and worker rights.
Gonzalez extends his academic skills into community service by serving on the boards of the Labor and Working-Class History Association, the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, the Wisconsin Latinx History Collective, Wisconsin Humanities, the State of Wisconsin Historic Preservation Review Board, and Voces de la Frontera Action. He has received numerous honors, awards and recognitions, including Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice’s Voice for Justice Award, Madison 365’s Wisconsin Most Powerful Latinos, Centro Hispano’s Ilda Conteris Thomas Community Leadership Award, and the Department of History Meritorious Service Award from the University of Wisconsin.
UMOS, or United Migrant Opportunity Services, was formed in 1965 by community and faith leaders who recognized the unmet needs and aspirations of migrant and seasonal farmworkers. While never forgetting its origins and initial population, UMOS has expanded its programs and services to assist people of all ethnic, racial, and linguistic backgrounds who struggle to meet their needs and dream of a better life for themselves and their families. Today, because of the generous support of individual and institutional philanthropists; federal, state, and local government agencies; employers; and other nonprofit partners, UMOS serves thousands of families every day across Wisconsin, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Florida and Minnesota.