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Cecilia Burciaga

Cecilia Preciado de Burciaga (May 17, 1945- March 25, 2013) was a Chicana scholar, activist and educator. Burciaga worked for over twenty years at Stanford University[1] where she was the "highest ranking Latino administrator on campus."[2] She advocated for the university to hire more women and people of color when she was a high-ranking administrator at Stanford.[1] She was also extremely committed to enrolling more Chicano students, especially in graduate studies.[2] Burciaga served on the National Advisory on Women with President Jimmy Carter and for President Bill Clinton as a member of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.[3] An award named after her and her husband, José Antonio Burciaga, is given at Stanford to students who show significant contributions to the community.[4]


Burciaga was born in Pomona and grew up in Chino.[1] Her parents were Mexican immigrants who ran a dairy farm.[1] Her mother encouraged her to read, rather than do housework.[5] She graduated from Pomona Catholic High School in 1963.[6]

Burciaga first taught at the high school level as a Spanish teacher in Chino.[7]

Burciaga started working at Stanford in 1974.[8] Part of her initial job was to help increase the number of Mexican Americans attending Stanford and working as staff and faculty.[7] Within three years, she had been promoted to assistant provost of faculty affairs based on her successful recruitment of Mexican Americans.[7] In this position, she helped recruit more minority and women faculty members.[7] In 1977, Burciaga is a speaker at the 1977 National Women's Conference among other notable speakers including Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford, Lady Bird Johnson, Bella Abzug, Barbara Jordan, Audrey Colom, Claire Randall, Gerridee Wheeler, Gloria Steinem, Lenore Hershey and Jean O'Leary.[9] In 1980, she became assistant to the university president and provost for Chicano affairs.[8] During the 1980s, in an interview, she discussed how even though affirmative action was part of the mission of Stanford, there was apathy and a general attitude that there were no "qualified candidates" among minority groups.[10] In 1991 she was promoted to associate dean.[7] Burciaga was not only an administrator at Stanford, she also facilitated Chicano and Latino students' integration into campus life.[11]

Burciaga was laid off from Stanford University in 1994, due to budget cuts[5] said the then provost, Condoleezza Rice.[1] Stanford students were so incensed by her lay-off that they staged protests and hunger strikes.[1] The hunger strikes took place in May and lasted between four and five days.[11][12]

In 1994, she became a founding dean of Cal State University, Monterey Bay.[1] She worked as an administrator there for many years.[13] In 2002, the university settled on a lawsuit brought by Burciaga and two others, citing racial discrimination as to the cause.[2] The settlement established a $1.5 million scholarship fund for low-income students from California.[2]

She died in Stanford, California on March 25, 2013, of lung cancer.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Trounson, Rebecca (27 March 2013). "Cecilia Preciado Burciaga Dies at 67, Longtime Stanford Administrator". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Noriega, Chon A. (1 April 2013). "Cecilia Preciado Burciaga, Presente!". Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  3. ^ Taylor, Dennis (28 March 2013). "Cecilia Burciaga: Latina Activist and Bay Area College Administrator Dead at 67". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Cecilia and Tony Burciaga Community Development Award". El Centro Chicano y Latino. Stanford University. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b Villagran, Nora Elizabeth (13 May 1994). "Woman of Diversity Cecilia Burciaga Looks to a Future Without Stanford". San Jose Mercury News.
  6. ^ "Alumni Spotlight" (PDF). The Pace Setter. 1 (1): 9. December 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 May 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e Meier, Matt S.; Gutierrez, Margo (2000). Encyclopedia of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 189–190. ISBN 9780313304255.
  8. ^ a b Sullivan, Kathleen J. (2 April 2013). "Cecilia Preciado Burciaga, Advocate for Latino Students, Dead at 67". Stanford News. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  9. ^ 1977 National Women's Conference: A Question of Choices,” 1977-11-21, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting
  10. ^ Coit, Lois (31 July 1984). "Remembering the 'Ones Not There'". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  11. ^ a b Najarro, Ileana (5 April 2013). "Cecilia Burciaga, Chicano/Latino Student Advocate, Dies at 67, Leaving Extensive Legacy". The Stanford Daily. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  12. ^ Rindfleisch, Jan (2017). Roots and Offshoots: Silicon Valley’s Arts Community. Santa Clara, CA: Ginger Press. pp. 142–149. ISBN 9780998308401.
  13. ^ "In Memoriam". Chronicle of Higher Education. 59 (31). 12 April 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
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Cecilia Burciaga
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