Iowa Latino Hall of Fame

To celebrate Latino heritage and honor Iowa’s Latinos who have made outstanding and significant cultural, political, social, and economic contributions to Iowa, the Iowa of Commission of Latino Affairs established the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame. We will induct three Latino leaders paying tribute to their contributions and setting them forth as role models for other Latino Iowans, ensuring that their legacy is not forgotten.

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Many outstanding Latinos/as helped shape Iowa and many strong Latino leaders continue to contribute their talents and skills to improve the quality of life in this state. To recognize and honor these achievers and to provide visible examples for tomorrow’s Latino leaders, the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs has established the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame in 2017 with the goal of ensuring that the efforts of Latino leaders is honorably recognized and celebrated.

Among the many strong Latino leaders are political and social activists, scientists, educators, writers and spiritual and community leaders. They represent the Latinos who have helped shape Iowa, the United States and the world. Their induction into the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame will enhance the visibility of their contributions to their work, communities, and the status of Latinos in Iowa.

Each year the commission inducts contemporary (living) or historical (deceased):

  1. Iowa Latinos/as who have been born in Iowa, achieved prominence within the state, or been a resident of Iowa for an extended period after achieving prominence elsewhere and have:

  • Made significant and enduring contributions to their field of endeavor, professional or otherwise.
  • Impacted the social, cultural, economic or political well-being of the community, state or nation.
  • Elevated the status of Latinos and positively impacted Latino youth.
  • Helped open new frontiers for Latinos and for society in general.
  • Inspired others by their example.

   2. Latinx Youth 

The Latinx Youth Leadership Award is awarded to an Iowa Latinx youth that is making a difference in their community.

   3. Latino Ambassador

The Iowa Latino Ambassador Award for Equity and Justice recognizes and honors the efforts and accomplishments of non-Latino and/or Latino Iowans. The medal is awarded to persons whose work is deemed outstanding and a significant contribution to the equity and justice for Iowa’s new immigrant population. 

Nominations are being accepted for the 2018 Iowa Latino Hall of Fame

To nominate an outstanding Iowa Latino/a, please fill out the form below. All entries must be typed and submitted electronically by July 1, 2018. Any person or group may submit a nomination.

2018 Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Nomination Form



Each year, the commission approves the selection of by a committee composed of three commissioners and two public citizens. The selection committee reviews and selects the nominees, the commission then reviews and votes to approve the suggested nominees to be inducted into the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame.

Inductees will be recognized at a special Iowa Latino Hall of Fame ceremony during Latino Heritage Month, September 15 — October 15. The commission asks that all nominators of historical inductees and all contemporary inductees appear at the ceremony, if able.

2018 Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Selection Committee:

  • Lorena Gingerich, Chair of committee
  • Marlu Abarca, Commissioner
  • Michelle Reuss, Commissioner
  • Marta Codina, Public Member

  • Nick Salazar, Public Member

Meet the 2017 and First Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Inductees

Click here to see more picture from the event.

Mary Campos Iowa Latino Hall of Fame InducteeIla Plasencia Iowa Latino Hall of Fame InducteeHenry Vargas Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Inductee

Mary Campos (Des Moines): Mentor, role model and advocate. First Latina appointed to the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, and co-chair of the Iowa Brown-Black Presidential Forum.

Ila Plasencia (West Des Moines): Community volunteer, organizer and activist. Served in the first Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs, Iowa Civil Rights Commission, Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, and many more organizations.

Henry Vargas (Davenport): Founding member of the Davenport Civil Rights Commission and what is now called the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs and the Office of Latino Affairs.


If you have any questions, contact Sonia Reyes-Snyder/Iowa Department of Human Rights, Office of Latino Affairs, at 515-281-4080, or