National Latino Leader to Give Commencement Address to HU’s Class of 2011 

The Honorable Pedro A. Cortés, the first confirmed Latino Cabinet member and the longest serving Secretary of State in Pennsylvania history, has been selected to give the Commencement Address this year at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania.

by Straight Line Saturday, March 26, 2011
Harrisburg, PA, March 25, 2011 - The Honorable Pedro A. Cortés, the first confirmed Latino Cabinet member and the longest serving Secretary of State in Pennsylvania history, has been selected to give the Commencement Address this year at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania.

He will address Harrisburg University’s Class of 2011 on Thursday, May 12, during Commencement ceremonies scheduled 6:30 p.m. in the Sunoco Theatre at the Whitaker Center for the Sciences and Arts on Market and 3rd Streets in Downtown Harrisburg.

Cortés served as Pennsylvania Secretary of State from 2003 to 2010 where his portfolio at the Department of State included professional licensure, corporate filings, charitable registrations, notary commissions and sports oversight. He was also the state's chief election official. During his tenure, the department successfully administered 15 primary and general elections and implemented the Help America Vote Act.

Presently, Cortés is the Executive Vice President of Everyone Counts, a global election solutions company specializing in military and overseas voting. As the lead strategic business developer at Everyone Counts, he is responsible for expanding the company’s technology offerings worldwide, including Latin America and the Caribbean.

Cortés was also the first Pennsylvanian to serve as President of the National Association of Secretaries of State, a position he held during the historic 2008 Presidential Election cycle. Under his leadership, the association strengthened cooperative relationships between the states and actively engaged the White House, Congress and federal agencies.

A lawyer by training, Cortés was previously the Senior Advisor for Latino Affairs to three Pennsylvania governors. As the Executive Director of the Governor's Latino Commission, he made recommendations to the governors and their administrations on policies, procedures and legislation that enhanced the status of the Latino community in Pennsylvania. Cortés’ professional pursuits have also included work with the Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

He has been a member of the Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness since its inception in 2005. He was also a member of the Subcommittee on Racial and Ethnic Bias that contributed to the Final Report on Racial and Gender Bias in the Justice System. Issued in 2003, the Final Report led to the establishment of the Interbranch Commission. Cortes is currently the Commission’s Chair.

He is been the recipient of numerous awards, including: Hispanic Business Magazine's 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States; the National Notary Association’s 50 Most Influential People in Notarization in the Last 50 Years; Multicultural Affairs Congress' Delaware Valley's Most Influential Latino; American Lawyer Media Lawyer on the Fast Track; Central Penn Business Journal's top Forty Under 40 business leaders in Central Pennsylvania; and The Pennsylvania State University Alumni Fellow, the most prestigious award given by the Penn State Alumni Association.

Cortés earned his Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration from the University of Massachusetts, a Master of Public Administration from Penn State University and a Law Degree from Penn State Dickinson School of Law. He also holds Doctorate Degrees honoris causa from King’s College, Harcum College and Widener University School of Law.

A native of Puerto Rico, Cortés has lived in Harrisburg since 1990.

Founded in 2001 to address Central Pennsylvania’s need for increased opportunities for study leading to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, Harrisburg University is an innovative and ambitious private institution that produces graduates who provide increased competence and capacity in science and technology disciplines to Pennsylvania and the nation. Harrisburg University ensures institutional access for underrepresented students and links learning and research to practical outcomes. As a private University serving the public good, Harrisburg University remains the only STEM-focused comprehensive university located between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

For more information on the University's demand-driven undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in applied science and technology fields, call 717.901.5146 or email
NOTE: There is an accent above the e in Cortés.

Steven Infanti
HU Communications
326 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

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