Former LULAC President Receives Nation's Highest Civilian Award
CONTACT, Selena Walsh, (202) 408-0060
For Immediate Release, 1/13/98
Washington--President Clinton has announced that he will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 15 Americans, including Mr. Mario G. Obledo, civil rights leader and former President of the League of United Latin American Citizens from 1983-85.
"Mario has been a friend, and inspiration to me and for many in LULAC" said Belen Robles, current President of the organization. "The President should be commended for acknowledging the work and life of a great American."
Mario Obledo was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1932, the son of parents who immigrated from Mexico in 1915. He was one of twelve children.
After attending public schools in San Antonio, he enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin. His education was interrupted by enlistment in the U.S. Navy during the Korean war. After receiving an honorable discharge he returned to the University of Texas and was awarded a B.S. in Pharmacy in 1957. While practicing pharmacy in San Antonio he enrolled in the St. Mary's University School of Law and was the recipient of a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree.
Mario Obledo has been active in Hispanic affairs for over 30 years; his leadership is recognized throughout the country. He co-founded the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) in 1968 and the National Hispanic Bar Association. As Secretary of the Health and Welfare agency in California, he was instrumental in bringing thousands of Hispanics into state government work.
Mario joined LULAC in 1955 serving in many leadership positions, culminating with his serving as President of the organization from 1983 to 1985.
"When Mario was President of LULAC in the mid-80's, he extended the influence of the organization beyond our national borders. Belen Robles stated "LULAC became internationally known as an organization advocating for the rights of Hispanics throughout the Americas and Caribbean."
The award will be presented to Mario Obledo in a White House ceremony scheduled for Thursday, January 15.
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