Byline: Robert Sanchez Daily Herald Staff Writer
As an attorney and entrepreneur, Manuel "Manny" Sanchez says he owes much of his success to the education he received at Northern Illinois University.
On July 1, the 53-year-old Lisle man will make history when he becomes chairman of NIU's board of trustees. He will be the first Hispanic in Illinois to hold the top post on a public university's governing board.
He was elected Friday by his fellow trustees.
"It feels very good, especially when it's my alma mater," said Sanchez, who co-founded the Chicago law firm of Sanchez & Daniels.
"A lot has transpired since I was an 18-year-old kid," Sanchez said Saturday. "But one thing that hasn't changed is my passion for higher education. I view that as such an essential requisite for anyone who wants to succeed in life."
Sanchez became one of the founding members of NIU's board in 1996 when he was appointed by then-Gov. Jim Edgar. He served the past two years as the panel's vice chairman.
In his new role, Sanchez said he hopes to improve diversity at the DeKalb-based university. "I would like to have our university reflect the true demographics of the society in which we live," he said.
To achieve that goal, Sanchez says, NIU must take a more active role in recruiting, retaining and graduating minority students. …