Chapa, Jorge (1974-2015) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Chapa, Jorge (1974-2015)

Historical Note: JORGE CHAPA (1953-2015)

Chapa was born in Mexico of Mexican parents and migrated to Chicago as an infant. His education includes a B. A. with Honors from the University of Chicago (1975) and graduate degrees in Sociology and Demography from U. C. Berkeley (1979 and 1988).

Jorge Chapa (1953-2015) was the director of the Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society (CDMS) from 2006 to 2011, a professor at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) (2011-2015), as well as a professor of Latina/Latino Studies (2006-2015), and Sociology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign (2006-2011). Before coming to Urbana-Champaign, he was a professor and founding director of Latino Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington (1999-2006). Chapa was also a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) School of Public Affairs (1988-1999), Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and director of the Graduate Opportunity Program, all at the University of Texas at Austin (1993-1999). He was also a research scholar for the Tomas Rivera Center (1988-1993).

Chapa served as an expert witness in a number of voting and redistricting cases in Texas, Illinois, Colorado, and Ohio from 1989-2011. He was a member of various organizations such as  the U.S. Bureau of the Census Advisory Committee on the Hispanic Population (1994-2002), National Council of La Raza Poverty Research Advisory Council (1997-2001), and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Student Services Formula Study Comm. (1995-1998).

He was widely published on the subjects of Latino policy issues and demographic trends and their political implications. His research interests focused on Latino educational achievement and access into higher education as well as economic and occupational mobility. He identified underlying causes and helped develop policies, programs, and laws to improve their participation.  For instance, he assisted in formulating the Texas House Bill 588, Texas Top Ten Percent Plan, which significantly increased the university enrollment of underrepresented minorities.

In 2006, Chapa was given the "Outstanding Latino/a Faculty Award in Higher Education Research and Teaching," by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE).  In 2004, his co-authored book, Apple Pie & Enchiladas: Latino Newcomers in the Rural Midwest (University of Texas Press, 2004) was nominated for the Senior Book Award of the American Ethnological Association, 2005.  He received the Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award in 2004.

He died October 19, 2015.

Reference: "Jorge Chapa Obituary," The News-Gazette. October 22, 2015,

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