Transformative Latino Leaders

Julian CastroILS Director Luis Fraga interviews Julián Castro.

Under the directorship of Professor Luis Fraga, Rev. Donald P. McNeill, C.S.C., Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership, the Transformative Latino Leadership Lecture Series engages prominent figures in politics, entertainment, the arts, business, activism, the church, and other fields who present both their personal experiences and a vision of effective leadership in their sphere of influence.

This lecture series links Notre Dame with the “who’s who” of Latino leaders in the United States. The primary audience for the series is young leaders of all backgrounds and its primary purpose is to attract speakers who inspire and inform them about the possibilities, pitfalls, and principles they should know as leaders in our contemporary world.

Recent Lecturers:

Mark Consuelos

Consuelos joined his wife, Kelly Ripa, as co-host of “Live with Kelly & Mark.” Consuelos and Ripa previously worked together for seven years on the soap opera, All My Children. For five consecutive seasons, Consuelos portrayed Hiram Lodge in the hit CW series, Riverdale. Next up, he is set to play a recurring role in HBO Max's upcoming political drama series The Girls on the Bus. Most recently, Consuelos appeared in Season 2 of Hulu’s hit comedy Only Murders in the Building in the role of Mabel’s (Selena Gomez) father. He spoke at Notre Dame on November 2, 2023.

Nicholas Gonzalez

Gonzalez burst onto the Hollywood scene after a critically acclaimed 3 season turn as medical student turned boxer, Alex Santiago, in Showtime’s groundbreaking series, Resurrection Boulevard. He very quickly began to amass a slew of credits in both TV and film. Best known for his portrayal of the charming and exacting Dr. Neil Melendez in ABC's global hit, "The Good Doctor”, Texas native and Stanford University graduate, Nicholas Gonzalez, is no stranger to audiences who recognize him from a dense resume of some of TV's hottest shows. He can currently be seen starring as ‘Capt. Levi Delgado’ on NBC’s Sci-Fi hit, “La Brea.” Gonzalez spoke at Notre Dame on November 2, 2023.

Wilmer Valderrama

Valderrama can be seen in and is currently filming the 20th season of NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service, in which he has starred for the past 6 seasons. He can also be seen as a guest role on NCIS Hawaii. He will be reprising his iconic role of "Fez" in That 90's Show. He recently voiced a terrific role in Disney's original animated feature Encanto, with original music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, that won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Motion Picture. He also voices a role in Netflix's animated feature Dog Gone Trouble. Valderrama spoke at Notre Dame on November 2, 2023.

Dorene Dominguez

Dominguez is the CEO of Vanir, a real estate and construction management company in San Bernardino, California. Dominguez '85 is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Notre Dame. She was named the 2018 Female Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the 2019 Latino Spirit Award for Achievement in Business and Philanthropy from the California Legislature's Latino Caucus. She spoke at Notre Dame on September 19, 2023.

Lisette Nieves

Nieves is the President of the Fund for the City of New York (FCNY), an institution dedicated to advancing the functioning of government and nonprofit organizations in New York City and beyond. A social entrepreneur, public sector leader, and scholar, she most recently served as an Obama appointee on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. She gave a lecture at Notre Dame on April 11, 2022.

Former Congressman Luis Gutiérrez

Congressman Gutiérrez was the first Hispanic Representative from Illinois. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2019. He is an outspoken advocate of workers' rights, LGBT rights, gender equality and other progressive causes. In 2021 he received a Lifetime Achivement– Excellence in Government Service Award from MALDEF. (Watch the video of his campus visit to the University of Notre Dame on March 23, 2022.)

José Angel Gutiérrez

Gutiérrez, an activist, attorney, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas, Arlington who has authored 18 books, visited the University of Notre Dame on March 2, 2022. He was founding member and president of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) and the Raza Unida Party. In 2019, he received the National Hispanic Hero Award from the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute in Chicago, Illinois. (Watch the video of his interview and conversation with ILS Director Luis Fraga.)

Thomas A. Saenz 

The President and General Counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), Saenz leads the organization’s efforts to promote the civil rights of all Latinos in the U.S., including defending President Obama’s deferred action immigration initiative before the U.S. Supreme Court in April 2016. He spoke at Notre Dame on Oct 3, 2019.

Rita Moreno

Moreno is a Latina legend of stage and screen and one of only 3 entertainers to achieve the EGOT (winning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and Peabody awards). Her career spanned more than 70 years in Broadway shows, studio films, and TV series. She is best known for her Academy Award-winning performance as Anita in West Side Story, as well as roles in The King and IThe Electric Company and Oz. Currenlty she stars in the show One Day at a Time. She spoke at Notre Dame on February 21, 2019. (Read more about her about her visit.)

Michael Olivas

The William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law and director of the Institute for HIgher Education Law and Governance at the University of Houston came to Notre Dame on April 1, 2019. Olivas was an instrumental figure in pushing for University of Texas' top 10% Plan and improving college access for DACA students. He spoke about the legal history of DACA and Deferred Action. (Watch the video of his lecture.)

Luis Alberto Urrea 

The award-winning writer and master storyteller spoke about his exploration of love, loss, and triumph. Urrea is the author of the novels The House of Broken AngelsThe Devil's Highway, and The Hummingbird's Daughter. He came to speak at Notre Dame on Oct 2, 2018. (Read about his visit and check out the video of his lecture.)

Dolores Huerta 

Web Dolores Huerta 13882Dolores Huerta spoke at Notre Dame about her
experience as an activist and community organizer.

Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) along with César Chávez and is one of the most influential labor activist of the 20th century. She is president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation whose mission is to create networks of healthy, organized communities pursuing social justice through systemic and structural transformation.  She spoke at Notre Dame on February 13, 2018. (Watch the video and read more about Dolores Huerta's visit to Notre Dame.)

Rev. Joseph H. Gomez

Archbishop of the nation's largest Catholic community. Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and appointed by Pope Francis to the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He spoke at Notre Dame on October 3, 2017. (Watch the video and read more about the Archbishop's visit to Notre Dame.)

Gloria Molina

Retired Los Angeles County Supervisor. First Latina elected to the California State Legislature, the Los Angeles City Council, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Served in the Carter White House as a Deputy for Presidential Personnel. She spoke at Notre Dame on March 8, 2017. (View Gloria Molina's interview and view her formal conversation with Luis Fraga, Director of ILS)

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

The first Latina U.S. Supreme Court Justice discussed a wide range of legal, intellectual, cultural and even personal issues arising from her life and career in a two-hour public conversation at Notre Dame on September 2, 2015. (View Justice Sonia Sotomayor video)

Julián Castro

The San Antonio Mayor was interviewed by his former faculty mentor Professor Luis Fraga in a public forum event titled "American Politics in the 21st Century: Latino Civic Engagement," April 7, 2014. (View Julián Castro interview)