December 15, 2010
By KATHERINE LEAL UNMUTH
The Dallas Morning News
The story of Raul Magdaleno can be summed up like this: He went from homeless to the Park Cities.
While a student at Southern Methodist University, he traveled between those very different worlds every day. He was living in a shelter.
Magdaleno, 30, now works as director of diversity and community engagement at SMU's Meadows School of the Arts. He works with Hispanic students who often face challenges similar to the financial and family issues he experienced while attending the university.
And, along the way, he has collected notable awards. Most recently, on Friday, he received the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Service Award for his volunteer work. He previously won the U.S. Congressional Award Gold Medal for young Americans in 2004, also for service.
Magdaleno didn't always feel welcome on the SMU campus. He felt isolated. He began school as a transfer student after graduating from Mountain View College and Dallas' Skyline High School.
"At community college, we were all struggling," he said. "At SMU, I felt invisible. I felt like I didn't exist. I was so embarrassed to be living in a shelter."
At 26, Magdaleno graduated from the university with a bachelor's degree in corporate communications and public affairs. His attitude changed with time, and he helps students transition to the school.
"We can go through our lives complaining about our situation, but I wanted to make sure I'm part of the change," Magdaleno said. "I want to make sure they feel like the most important student on campus."
Read the full story.
See video about Raul.
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