Dr. Carlos Cortes UCR Panunzio Award Winner

The Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award is a system-wide honor that recognizes University of California Emeriti for distinguished research, teaching, and service during their retirement. For 2020-2021, the Panunzio Award is being shared by UC San Diego Professor Emeritus of Political Science Wayne Cornelius and UCR’s Professor Emeritus of History Carlos Cortés.

Over a quarter of a century has passed since his formal “retirement” in 1994, Carlos Cortés has continued his deep engagement with issues of diversity and multiculturalism in scholarship, popular writings, public activism, and cultural and educational contributions aimed at children. His book The Children Are Watching: How the Media Teach about Diversity, published in 2000, was a major theoretical and conceptual contribution to the literature in both education and media studies. This work was followed in 2002 by The Making and Remaking of a Multiculturalist, which has been described as “an important contribution to the educational literature on diversity and education.” In 2012, Cortés published a memoir about his family entitled Rose Hill: An Intermarriage before its Time. This was followed by a one-person play A conversation with Alana: One Boy’s Multicultural Rite of Passage. Cortés has now performed this play more than 150 times around the country. In 2016, Cortés published a book of poetry, Fourth Quarter: Reflections of a Cranky Old Man. Most recently, he has completed a novel, Scouts’ Honor, currently under review.

While producing these diverse publications, Cortés has performed an even longer list of services. He has consulted for federal, state, and county programs and over 250 school districts, and has given scores of public lectures at universities, schools, and public institutions. Cortés has been a consultant to Nickelodeon since May 2000, and has helped to produce such widely watched children’s television programs as “Dora the Explorer.” For the City of Riverside, Cortés has served since 1999 as the coordinator of the Mayor’s Multicultural Forum. At UC Riverside, Cortés has been a frequent coordinator of the annual conference in honor of Tomas Rivera. In 2020, Cortés was appointed Co-Director of the Health Equity, Social Justice, and Anti-Racism curriculum of UCR’s School of Medicine, where he has brought energy and passion to his teaching.

These many accomplishments and services have earned Cortés numerous honors and awards. For his contributions to Nickelodeon Cortés received the NAACP Image Award in 2009. Other accolades include honorary doctorates from the College of Wooster and DePaul University, and the Carlos Cortés Diversity and Inclusion Award established by the City of Riverside.

Cortés’ colleagues in the UCR Emeriti Association salute him for these many achievements, and congratulate him for being honored as one of two Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti for 2020- 2021.

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