Antonio Leaño Alvarez Del Castillo is considered a role model and mentor for many in Mexico. His lifelong work and contributions resulted in national changes in education, the workplace, and the economy. At the age of 17, he founded the first private university in Mexico, Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara (UAG). He also founded and developed the Division of Continuing Education (EDUCON) within the UAG system. Moreover, he founded University in the Community (UNICO), the first community college in Latin America. Due to his contributions to higher education and continuing education, thousands of students have graduated from UAG, benefiting not only Mexico but many other countries in Latin and North America. Within Mexico, as well as internationally, he has raised the visibility and viability of adult and continuing education.
He created and presided over such organizations as the Latin American Studies University Group for the Reform and Improvement of Education (GULERPE), a private Latin American international organization whose principles are consistent with those of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. In addition, he created and supported the Mexican Association of Continuing Education (AMEC), a pioneering educational organization, which joined 16 organizations.
For more than 30 years, EDUCON has provided adults with training and skills upgrading across a spectrum of disciplines, equipping professionals according to local and national needs and contributing substantially to the social progress and economic development of Mexico. Such advances have been particularly evidenced in the areas of business, health sciences, and industry. EDUCON has been recognized for promoting excellence and growth in business and society, contributing to humanistic development by providing activities that improve the quality of human life, and offering innovative educational programs. EDUCON is especially recognized for supporting industrial sector professionals and upgrading their technological knowledge to respond to continuous technology change.
Antonio Leaño Alvarez Del Castillo’s many awards and honors include the Education Award of the National Hispanic Heritage awarded by the U.S. government, recognition by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Hispanic newspapers in the United States, the Great Cross of Merit for Teaching from the Mexican Institute of Culture, Distinguished Citizen of the city of Tecomán, Colima, Mexico, Honorary Citizen of Kansas City, Missouri, the “Huehuetlatoli” award for public relations professionals, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Victoria, Canada.
His work has contributed to the preparation of more than 18,000 foreign doctors. He is co-founder of the Latin American University Research Group for the Reform and Improvement of Education (GULERPE), a Latin American private international organization. Today, GULERPE has hundreds of members throughout Latin America and continues to successfully fulfill its purposes.
Leaño Alvarez Del Castillo was an activist in the best sense of the term. His unwavering dedication to the improvement of society has been evidenced in a variety of initiatives—not only in the area of education but through a variety of other efforts, including the advancement of agriculture and tourism in his country. His antennae were constantly tuned to ways in which the human condition could be improved. On his life’s path he acted as a mentor to others, never abandoning hope in the human spirit. His death in 2010 was an occasion of national mourning, but his legacy—through monumental contributions to adult and continuing education in Mexico, and beyond—lives on.
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