The Harvard Crimson, the nation's oldest college newspaper, is getting ready to welcome its first Hispanic president in its nearly 150-year history.
Raquel Coronell Uribe, a student majoring in history and literature, will assume the leadership role starting in January.
“I really wanted to help shape what the organization could look like in the future. So, I had to give myself a chance to try and run for the presidency,” Coronell Uribe told NBC News on Friday.
“I’m really honored to be the first Latinx president, but we have to make sure that doesn’t mean that I’m the last,” Coronell Uribe said. “I really want to make sure that this door remains open for other people.”
Following a five-week election process and dozens of interviews, Crimson President Amanda Y. Su called Coronell Uribe on Sunday to deliver the news.
Her first call after learning she had just made history at The Crimson was to her parents, who are also journalists.
"They've been so helpful to me during the election process," Coronell Uribe said.
Her father, Daniel Coronell, is the former president of Univision News and her mother, María Cristina Uribe, was a well-known TV news anchor. They both hail from Colombia.
The Crimson, the oldest continuously run college newspaper, is editorially and financially independent from Harvard University and is supported by student-run business and technology boards. Part of Coronell Uribe's job will be to sustain those structures with the help of two other students who will also take on other leadership roles at the paper.
The newspaper has a storied history, and previous editors have included former Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, as well as the writers David Halberstam and author Michael Crichton.
Coronell Uribe steps into her new role at a time when student newsrooms across the U.S. lack Black and Hispanic representation in leadership positions, according to a diversity in student newsrooms analysis by the Asian American Journalists Association.
Coronell Uribe said this is core to her vision for the paper. During her term, she wants to make The Crimson "a place where anybody can thrive regardless of your ethnicity or race or background or socioeconomic status," as well as produce journalism that serves as a "counterweight to power," she said.
A Colombian American from Miami, Coronell Uribe started at Harvard in 2018 as a pre-medical student. She wanted to be just like the doctor who treated her after being diagnosed with leukemia at 16. She beat the disease after three years of treatments, said Coronell Uribe.
"He was just so amazing and I wanted to be just like him — he literally saved my life," she added.
But after getting involved with The Crimson and taking classes in other departments, Coronell Uribe realized she was more passionate about writing and journalism.
She has previously interned at WLRN, a public radio station in Florida, and at NBC News, where she worked with the digital social media team.
Coronell Uribe said she is considering going to law school after she graduates in 2023, but wants to remain part of the journalism industry, either as a reporter or by helping protect journalists facing threats for doing their jobs.
The subject is close to Coronell Uribe's heart. Her father was subjected to death threats in Colombia after publishing an investigation, which led her family to relocate in Miami.
"A lot of journalists in Colombia face these kinds of threats," she said. "And seeing the bravery that it takes to keep people informed is something that I really admire."
Coronell Uribe feels she's now in a position to give back to the organization that gave her a home when she first set foot at one of the world's most prestigious universities.
“I love The Crimson. I love this organization. I think it’s really the place where I found a home on Harvard’s campus,” Coronell Uribe said. “It’s taught me so much. It’s really made me more outgoing, made me a better journalist and it’s given me some of my closest friends.”