Hispanic Magazine has ranked the University of Notre Dame ninth on its 2004 list of “Top 25 Colleges for Latinos,” the third consecutive year the University has made the list since its debut in 1999. Notre Dame was ranked 15th in 2002 and 16th last year.p. The magazine based its evaluations on academic excellence and Hispanic achievement. It gathered information from numerous sources including the universities, Hispanic scholarship organizations, U.S. News&World Report’s annual survey “America’s Best Colleges,” and Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, which publishes a list of the top 100 institutions that award bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics.p. Diversifying Notre Dame’s population has been a top priority for Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., the University’s president. Since 1987, when Father Malloy took office, minority enrollment has increased from 7.5 percent to 17 percent. Currently Hispanics constitute almost 8 percent of undergraduate enrollment.p. “I am very pleased about the dramatic increase in the members of underrepresented groups here at Notre Dame,” Father Malloy said. ?We’ve worked hard to get the application numbers up, provide increased funding for scholarships, and also to make sure those who are admitted decide to come. We’re striving to make Notre Dame more clearly resemble the demographics of the country and of the world."p. Hispanic Magazine praised the University’s Building Bridges Mentoring Program, sponsored by Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS). The program matches minority, first-year students with faculty and administrators to help ease the adjustment to college life.p. “I really feel Notre Dame promotes the Latino culture,” said senior Elizabeth Melchor, co-president of the Latino and Latin American student group La Alianza. “It’s in my opinion a welcoming environment because the University allows for many of these programs and events to take place by providing us with funds. It’s up to us to utilize these resources and to ensure that our culture is seen throughout campus.”p. Other programs at Notre Dame that help support Latino students include numerous retreats and Masses, service-learning opportunities, and, perhaps most notably, the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS).p. Founded in 1999, the ILS plays a pivotal role in providing an academic environment that advances knowledge and understanding of the Latino experience in the United States. As an interdisciplinary unit, the institute seeks to incorporate the study of the Latino population of the United States as a vital component of the University’s academic mission and also provides an administrative home and support for the Latino student clubs on campus.p. “Students are central to our mission and have been incorporated into the life of the institute from the beginning,” said ILS director Gilberto Cardenas, assistant provost for institutional relations and the Julian Samora Professor of Latino Studies. “Recognizing that the needs of individual students vary, we strive to create a sense of community at Notre Dame through maintaining a balance among education, research and outreach. We have established a minor in Latino studies and offer a variety of classes in fields including political science, sociology, theology, literature, history and art. We provide a wide array of research and experiential learning opportunities, and we sponsor or subsidize a gamut of cultural and academic events for students— many initiated by the students themselves.”p. Founded in 1987, Hispanic Magazine is the premier publication for Hispanic Americans, with a focus on business, careers, politics, culture and stories about people and issues of interest to Hispanics. The March issue ranked Stanford University first, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.