Salgado '91 a MacArthur "Genius"

Sept. 29, 2015  

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Chicago-based community leader and Illinois Wesleyan University alumnus Juan Salgado has been named one of the 24 MacArthur Fellows for 2015

Each of the so-called “genius” grant winners will receive $625,000, paid out over five years with no strings attached, as an investment in the person’s originality, insight and potential. Awarded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the formally named MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals such as Salgado who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.

Juan Salgado '91 spoke and received an honorary doctorate at Illinois Wesleyan's 2013 Commencement.

“These 24 delightfully diverse MacArthur Fellows are shedding light and making progress on critical issues, pushing the boundaries of their fields, and improving our world in imaginative, unexpected ways,” said MacArthur Foundation President Julia Stasch. “Their work, their commitment and their creativity inspire us all.” They are nominated anonymously by leaders in their respective fields. 

A 1991 graduate of Illinois Wesleyan with a major in economics, Salgado is president and CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago. The Instituto, which Salgado has led since 2001, creates educational and workforce opportunities for Latino communities in Chicago.  A significant voice in local and national settings for his work on the educational, political and economic advancement of the Latino community, Salgado was recognized as a 2011 White House Champion for Change for Social Innovation. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund Excellence in Community Service Award. 

After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan, Salgado won a graduate fellowship to study at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a master’s degree in urban planning. 

Salgado served as the speaker for Illinois Wesleyan’s 2013 Commencement and received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during the ceremony. Salgado joins another Illinois Wesleyan alumna Dawn Upshaw, a 1982 graduate, as a MacArthur Fellow. Upshaw, a five-time Grammy winner, was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2007.