NJCU Chief of Staff Andrés Acebo Selected as a HACU Leadership Academy Fellow

September 3, 2021
Andy Acebo web header; HACU Fellowship (2021.09-03)

JERSEY CITY, N.J. | The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has announced that Andrés Acebo, J.D., the Interim Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees within the Office of the President at New Jersey City University (NJCU), has been selected as an HACU Fellow for the third annual cohort of its Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo for 2021-22. It is the third consecutive year NJCU has had a member of its leadership team selected for the coveted fellowship.

Acebo is one of just 25 fellows selected nationally. The one-year fellowship program will include three seminars with the first taking place in October 2021, in conjunction with HACU’s Annual Conference, "35 Years of Championing Hispanic Higher Education Success." The second seminar will lead into HACU’s Annual Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education in April 2022. The third seminar will be held in late spring or early summer of 2022, with a focus on international collaboration.

As the only national association representing existing and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), more than a dozen nationally recognized current and emeriti presidents and senior-level administrators will be a part of the faculty. The Fellow from each of the selected universities will also have mentorship with a university president and will develop a special project designed to have an impact at the Fellow’s current institution.

“I am deeply and sincerely honored for this opportunity to be a part of the third fellowship class of the HACU Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo,” said Acebo. “NJCU’s mission inspired me to come to the institution and I look forward to learning from distinguished industry leaders and my fellow cohort members on how to be the best steward of that mission and drive innovation for our students, employees, and the community we serve.”

Acebo joins José Balda [B.A. `00; M.A. `06], NJCU’s Director of University Admissions, who was selected as part of the inaugural cohort in 2019, and Virginia Meléndez, Ed.D., [M.A. `06] in 2020 as past fellows representing NJCU.

Acebo’s family story that began nearly 60 years ago when his father fled Cuba for freedom, and his path to NJCU, was recently depicted in a feature in Hispanic Executive. He joined the NJCU community on February 1, 2021.

In his role as Chief of Staff, Acebo is a senior adviser to the President on institutional planning, policy and program development and is responsible for facilitating effective decision-making and coordinating the execution of strategic initiatives, while providing close coordinative support to the President as an ongoing liaison for external governmental affairs issues. As Secretary to the Board of Trustees, he provides oversight and coordination to the Committees of the Board, prioritizes issues between the President, the Board of Trustees and other stakeholders, and ensures maintenance of records of the Board.

Acebo most recently served on the vetting and due diligence team for the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and Alliance for Latinx Leadership and Policy (ALLP) partnership to identify U.S. Department of Justice presidential nominees for the Biden/Harris transition.

In his private practice, Acebo has counseled and represented governmental entities, higher education institutions and public school districts, and closely-held corporations. His practice focuses primarily on employment and labor, education law, and government/public entity law.

Acebo has been recognized as a Rising Star by New Jersey Super Lawyers, a Top Latino Lawyer by Latino Leaders Magazine, a Top Lawyer under 40 by the Hispanic National Bar Association, and as a Diverse Attorney of the Year by the New Jersey Law Journal.

He currently serves as a Deputy Regional President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and Chair of the Special Committee on Cuba.

Founded in 1986, HACU’s La Academia is a program designed to diversify and increase the number of talented individuals who aspire to leadership positions of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Emerging HSIs.

Representing more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States, the Fellows selected for the program will participate in an array of leadership development activities that will prepare them for leadership roles for higher education, as well as HSIs.

The 2021-22 Fellows selected and their home institutions are:

  • Alamo Colleges District, Ruth Dalrymple
  • Caldwell University, Crystal López
  • California State University, Bakersfield, James L. Rodríguez, Ph.D.
  • Cañada College, Manuel Alejandro Pérez, Ed.D.
  • Central New Mexico Community College, Philip Lister, Ph.D.
  • Central New Mexico Community College, Melanie D. Viramontes
  • Cypress College, Yanet G. Padilla
  • Cypress College, AnnMarie Ruelas
  • Cypress College, Gisela Verduzco
  • Dallas College Mountain View Campus, Esteban Sosa
  • Dallas College Cedar Valley Campus, Maya Thomas Fernández, Ed.D.
  • Kean University, Carlos L. Nazario
  • Kean University, Carlos E. Rodriguez
  • Loras College, Sergio Pérez
  • Mesa Community College, Nora Amavisca Reyes, Ed.D.
  • New Jersey City University, Andrés Acebo, J.D.
  • Palo Alto College, Erron González
  • Texas A&M University, Luz E. Herrera, J.D.
  • Texas A&M University System, John E. Hurtado, Ph.D.
  • The City College of New York, Vanessa K. Valdés, Ph.D.
  • The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Nikolasa Tejero, DMA
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio, Juan Manuel Sánchez, Ph.D.
  • University of California, Davis, Luis Carvajal-Carmona, Ph.D.
  • University of Pittsburgh, Ariel Carlos Armony, Ph.D.
  • Utah Valley University, Yudi Lewis

About NJCU:
New Jersey City University is an institution of higher learning with an audacious goal: the development of our students, our city, our communities, our state, and the world beyond. We are a game-changing force for our students and their families. Whether our students are enrolled in one of our 50 undergraduate, 28 graduate or three doctoral programs, NJCU provides an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty—all of which prepares them to be critical thinkers in a global landscape.

We’re also changing the game for our city, our communities, and our state. As the educational anchor institution in Jersey City, we’ve established partnerships to ensure the area’s growth directly benefits our students and community members. We seek to improve the lives of everyone in the Garden State, whether creating a home for the arts, bringing educational programs to K-12 students, offering bachelor’s degrees in partnership with community colleges, or providing professional development opportunities for adults.

At NJCU, we’re not just educating minds, we’re nourishing souls and lifting communities. We’re changing the game.


Ira Thor
, Senior Director of University Communications and Media Relations | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301