INDIANAPOLIS — Manuela Higgins will serve as Marian University’s inaugural Executive Director of Latin@ Leadership, university officials announced today. Higgins comes to Marian University from Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, where she most recently served as Director of Community Engagement and led a nationally recognized effort to increase Latina engagement.
In her new role, Higgins will have responsibility for systematically forming strategic community partnerships, creating intercultural engagement, recruiting students, and promoting Latin@ student success. She will report to Adam Setmeyer, vice president of Mission and Ministry.
Marian University’s Latin@ Leadership Initiative seeks to raise educational achievement among Latinos by infusing schools with transformational mentors; building a network of support; creating a center of faith, life and culture; providing radical access to, and comprehensive support during, higher education; and expanding the resources necessary to accomplishing these ambitious goals.
“Increasing access to higher education for underserved populations is central to Marian University’s mission,” Setmeyer said. “But our mission doesn’t end with simply providing access. Many of the students coming from those populations are first-generation college students, who require additional support to ensure their success. We feel strongly that this position is critical to ensuring that our growing Latino student body succeeds at Marian, and are highly confident in Manuela’s knowledge, skills and ability to lead the charge.”
“I’m honored that Marian University has selected me to fill this very important role in their organization,” Higgins said. “Bridging the educational opportunity gap is not only important to Latinos in central Indiana, it is critical if Indianapolis is going to thrive in the coming decade. I’m excited to tap into my experience and network to not only recruit Latino students to Marian, but to provide them with support they need to succeed in college.”
Higgins is a native of Columbia, and earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and social communication from University of Manizales in Colombia. She also holds a master’s degree in leadership development from Saint Mary of the Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Higgins joined Girl Scouts of Central Indiana in 2016 as Membership Extension Manager of their Hispanic Initiative. She previously served as Chief Communications Officer for Security and Coexistence for the
Presidency of the Republic of Colombia. She has also been a reporter, producer and anchor for an international news network in Colombia, and served as digital editor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombia.
About Marian University Indianapolis
Founded in 1937, Marian University
is the only Catholic university in Indianapolis and central Indiana. In 2019, Marian is serving more than 2,400 undergraduate and 1,160 graduate students earning degrees in the arts, business, education, engineering, math, medicine, nursing, ministry, and the natural and physical sciences. The university’s high-impact, experiential curriculum is designed to provide hands-on, collaborative learning opportunities for students from 45 states and 23 nations. Marian climbed in U.S. News & World Report’s
2019 Midwestern rankings to be named #10 Most Innovative Regional University, #24 Best Value University, and #38 Best Regional University. Marian University opened its College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2013, making it the first new school of medicine in the state of Indiana in 110 years. Marian’s national champion varsity athletic programs include the 2012 and 2015 NAIA Football National Championship, the 2016 and 2017 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship, and more than 40 USA Cycling national championships.