INDIANAPOLIS | A Mexican immigrant who grew up in Hammond and Gary will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award of the Indiana University Latino Alumni Association on Oct. 12.
Lillian Casillas-Origel, director of La Casa — the Latino Cultural Center at IU Bloomington — is being honored for her lifetime of advocacy for social change.
"I'm not saying that one seeks validation, but it feels good to be recognized and feel we are on the right track with what we hope to accomplish," she said.
Alice Jordan-Miles, president of the IU Latino Alumni Association, said Casillas-Origel's dedication to helping others has ensured hundreds of students that might otherwise have dropped out instead earned their college degrees.
"Lilly is a catalyst to change and a catalyst to improving the lives of students," Jordan-Miles said.
Past recipients of the Latino alumni award include Lake Superior Judge Jesse Villalpando and J. Guadalupe Valtierra, former chancellor of Ivy Tech Northwest.