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Newly-Appointed Drake Dean Makes History

Two women walk by a brick building surrounded by greenery.
Dan Videtich
Drake University
Alejandro Hernandez, the first Latino dean in Drake's history, originally came from Chile. "I've decided that I'm going to have to make a concerted effort to understand how my experiences can be relevant here," Hernandez said. "But also how I can help make sure that we built a solid platform for the new realities ever going to face in future years."

Drake University added a page to its history book this week by hiring its first Latino dean. In his new role, Alejandro Hernandez said he plans on adding not only to the Drake community, but to Iowa.

Alejandro Hernandez poses for a photo on Aug. 1, 2020. Hernandez' began his first full week of work this week.
Drake University
Alejandro Hernandez poses for a photo on Aug. 1, 2020. Hernandez' began his first full week of work this week.

Alejandro Hernandez is originally from Chile, but work brought him to Iowa. He has since shifted his gaze to the education sector. Hernandez will serve as the dean of the College of Business and Public Administration. He is the first Latino dean in Drake’s history.

Hernandez started out at Wells Fargo where he served as a senior vice president. He promoted diversity there by helping to publish the company’s first-ever human rights statement.

Hernandez said it is important to have diverse leadership because that is how people hear new ideas.

“There's going to be more perspectives brought to the table and I think when business schools can unlock access, reduce barriers and intentionally create strategies to engage underrepresented or disadvantaged populations. I think you're creating environments for success,” Hernandez said.

He said Iowa was welcoming to him when he first got here, and he hopes to continue that attitude for students at Drake. He said he also plans to encourage more diversity in the student population at the university.

“I have a bicultural and bilingual background, I think I bring a perspective that is more global. That is also more comfortable with the increasingly diverse and global student population that is attending Drake," Hernandez said.

Hernandez started his relationship with Drake University in 2017 when he worked as an adjunct professor.

Kassidy was a reporter based in Des Moines