Radio Bilingüe’s Founder Receives Harvard Honorary Doctorate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 25, 2023
Media Contact:
Alison Kinney
707 953 3592

Harvard University Confers Honorary Doctorate

To Radio Bilingüe Leader Hugo Morales

The Radio Bilingüe Latino Public Radio Network is proud to announce that today Harvard University conferred an honorary doctorate to Hugo Morales, co-founder and executive director of Radio Bilingüe, in recognition and celebration of his lifelong achievements. During the commencement ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard president, Lawrence Bacow said of Morales: “An impassioned pathbreaker in public media, creating new spaces for voices unheard, he awakens the airways to inform and inspire, making service to others his station in life.”

As the first U.S. Latino and Indigenous Mexican to receive a Harvard honorary doctorate, Morales said he is “awed” to follow in such footsteps as iconic Mexican writers Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes. Morales, an Indigenous Mixteco, migrated from his village in Oaxaca, Mexico to Northern California at the age of 9. As a child farmworker attending public schools, he excelled academically and went on to graduate from Harvard College in 1972 and Harvard Law School in 1975.  He then returned to Fresno in California’s San Joaquin Valley in 1976 to found Radio Bilingüe, now the nation’s leading Latino public radio network and content producer.

He shared, “It is humbling to receive such an honor from Harvard University. I would not have gotten here without the brilliant professional work of the Radio Bilingüe team— our gifted staff, community volunteers, dedicated listeners, board of directors, affiliate radio stations in the U.S. and Mexico, and the foundations and other supporters who have believed in our work of providing intelligent programming to essential workers in their languages.”

Recently, Radio Bilingüe has been a critical messenger on COVID-19 response, shifting immigration policy, and census participation for its hard-to-reach audience population of primarily rural and low-wage workers. And with the rise of climate disasters and voter disinformation, Radio Bilingüe often offers the only regular and reliable journalism and alerts in Spanish for listeners. Key to Radio Bilingüe’s work is providing a platform for policy makers and essential workers to mobilize public opinion on such topics as healthcare, access to education, employment opportunity, racial justice, housing, civic engagement, criminal justice reform, and life at the border.

Throughout his leadership, Morales has prioritized handing over the mic to the Latino community, including Indigenous Mexican farmworkers and Latinx youth, to lead the conversations pertinent to their peers and to celebrate diverse Latino music, culture, and languages. Thousands of hours of Radio Bilingüe legacy programs, such as the groundbreaking national Spanish news talk show Línea Abierta that airs each weekday, are now part of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting at the Library of Congress.

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