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Miami Dade College’s Professor Octavio Roca Recognized Nationally as One of this Year’s Outstanding Latino Educators

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MDC North Campus Prof. Octavio Roca Recognized as Outstanding Latino Educator

Miami, March 7, 2014 - One of Miami Dade College’s (MDC) most respected professors, Octavio Roca, will receive the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education’s prestigious 2014 Outstanding Latino Educator Award in Literary Arts and Publications. Prof. Roca, who currently teaches Philosophy at MDC’s North Campus, will travel to Costa Mesa, CA, this month to receive this distinction during the AAHHE’s annual conference.

“I take great pride in our College’s diversity, and try to help my students reaffirm their own cultural and ethnic identities because as such, we ourselves create unique facets of the work-in-progress that is American culture,” said Roca. “Particularly at a time when there is so much ignorance and hatred surrounding issues of immigration, it is important to remember that this country was built by immigrants, that more than half of what is now the United States spoke Spanish before it spoke English, and that we are a vital force in the making of Americans in the 21st century.”  

A beloved teacher and passionate champion of Hispanic-American culture, Roca has authored books, columns, and grants to promote Hispanics in the United States. His most recent publications include Cuban Ballet, with forewords by Alicia Alonso and Mikhail Baryshnikov (Layton and New York, Gibbs Smith), and La Giselle de Alicia Alonso: Un signo de esperanza (Madrid and Havana, Ediciones Cumbre). Last year, the Cuban-born professor began giving a series of lectures sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution on “Cuban Culture and American Identity.” In addition to his literary contributions, he has been the subject of two television documentaries on Cuban dancers, Cuban Ballet—in the USA(2012), on BBC World News Service, and the Spanish-language Ballet con acento cubano (2012) produced and first broadcast on TV-Marti and subsequently syndicated on MegaTV. Aside from this, Prof. Roca helped write a three-year NEH grant, Building Bridges to Democracy, which was awarded to MDC, and as a result allowed him to represent the College and the North Campus in a 2012 summer symposium on multiculturalism, education, and democracy, in Vermont.

Before joining Miami Dade College, Roca was music and dance critic for The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He has written for Opera News, Dance Magazine and Musical America. Among his other books are the biography Scotto, More Than a Diva, Prologue to Greatness, American Dance – A Constantly Evolving Tradition, among other publications

AAHHE’s mission is to increase the pipeline of Hispanic faculty in higher education, bring issues pertinent to Hispanics to the attention of the larger academic community, and recognize the achievements and accomplishments of Hispanics. 

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino Florin, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366,, media specialist
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Kai Hill, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

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