Bergen Assistant VP Picked for National Hispanic Leadership Program

PARAMUS, N.J. – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has selected Bergen Community College Assistant Vice President of Financial Aid and Compliance Yessika García-Guzmán, Ph.D., as one of 50 fellows for the fifth cohort of its Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo.

The program seeks to increase diverse representation in executive and senior-level positions in higher education. During the one-year fellowship program, García-Guzmán will attend seminars in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Spain.

“I am deeply honored and grateful to have been selected as a fellow for HACU's fifth cohort of its Leadership Academy/Academia de Liderazgo,” she said. “I understand the responsibility that comes with this role, and I am committed to upholding the values of leadership, diversity and community engagement.”

Fellows participate in an array of leadership development activities preparing them for roles in the full spectrum of institutions of higher learning, with an emphasis on Hispanic-Serving Institutions - including Bergen - and Emerging HSIs. Academy faculty consist of current and former presidents, chancellors and senior administrators with over more than years of combined experience.

“Our leadership academy fellows have already proven the value of the Association’s efforts to increase diverse representation within the upper echelons of higher education by assuming top positions at colleges and universities across the nation,” HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores said. “Students benefit from having leaders from a wide range of backgrounds, and this fifth and largest cohort to date, brings a range of professional and life experience that can meet the challenges of our multicultural institutions of higher education.”

García-Guzmán joined the College in November 2022 as assistant vice president of financial aid and compliance after serving in student affairs leadership roles at Ocean County College. Born in the Dominican Republic, she came to the United States as an eight-year-old and settled in New York City. A first-generation college graduate, Garcia-Guzman earned her B.S. in finance and management from Fordham University, an M.P.A. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, an M.S. in urban affairs and public policy from Hunter College and a Ph.D. in public policy and administration with a concentration on education policy and leadership from Walden University. In addition to her professional experience, García-Guzmán remains a frequent community voice on topics such as immigration and diversity, equity and inclusion. She lives with her husband and two sons in Freehold.

Capital One and the American Federation of Teachers provide support for the fellowships to selected recipients.

HACU, founded in 1986, represents more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States, Latin America, Spain and school districts throughout the U.S. HACU is the only national association representing existing and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions. HACU’s headquarters are in San Antonio, Texas, with regional offices in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, California.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (, a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

Photo caption: Yessika Garcia-Guzman, Ph.D.

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