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University Of Washington Names its First Latina President

Image: Chinese President Xi Jinping Visits Washington State
File photo of Ana Mari Cauce, in the middle of the photo, who has just been named the University of Washington's first Hispanic, woman and openly gay president.mages / Getty Images

The University of Washington has named its first Latina president.

Ana Mari Cauce was chosen by the Seattle-based school’s Board of Regents for the position, also making her the first woman and first openly gay person to hold the job permanently.

“This is really less about me but about us,” Cauce told the Regents. “You have confidence that we are moving in the right direction.”

Cauce was born in Cuba but left with her family when she was three after Castro came to power. Her father had been minister of education in Cuba.

Image: Chinese President Xi Jinping Visits Washington State
File photo of Ana Mari Cauce, in the middle of the photo, who has just been named the University of Washington's first Hispanic, woman and openly gay president.mages / Getty Images

Cauce has been interim president at the school since March after the school's president left to go to Texas A&M University. She joined the UW faculty in 1986 as an assistant professor of psychology and rose to become the university’s provost and executive vice president before being named interim president.

Cauce was chosen after the university spent $100,000 to conduct a nationwide search that found scores of candidates.

Her goal as president, said Cauce, is to help people see the university through her eyes, acknowledging that she is not the typical middle age, male university president. She also spoke of her own experiences with prejudice and why it has been difficult for a place as liberal as Seattle to move beyond racism.

“Sure there are horrible bigots and people who spread hate, and the world would be a better place if we could stop them,” Cauce said. “But racism and those other ‘isms’ are about something more profound. They are inside all of us. Historic and cultural racism that is passed down over generations is more subtle and harder to fight. It can’t be willed or ignored away. We have to become culturally aware and self-aware,” said Cauce.

Her speech kicked off a new race and equity initiative at the university.

--The Associated Press

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