José Ángel Navejas, of Chicago, is one of four former Moraine Valley Community College students being inducted into the college’s 2019 Alumni Hall of Fame.
“Finding out I was selected to be in the Alumni Hall of Fame was surreal to me,” said Navejas, who attended Moraine Valley from 1998 to 2000. “This was the place I learned the fundamentals of writing, of reading, mathematics and philosophy. And now the college is opening its arms again and welcoming me like one of its own. This is such an honor.”
Navejas earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in Latin American literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is working on a doctoral degree in Latin American literature.
A highly-praised author, Navejas penned a book entitled, “Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant,” published by the University of Illinois Press in 2014. He writes for numerous topical websites and lectures at colleges across the country. His book, which is expected to be published in Spanish, was selected for the One Book, One College program at Moraine Valley in 2015. It also was designated required reading for freshman students at California State University, East Bay, and was selected for the Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition, it was adopted as a reading requirement for numerous Latino study courses at colleges and universities across the country.
“Jose is a success not just because he is a well-known, acclaimed author, but because he has grown to be an exceptional man,” said Janice Hill, former reading instructor to Navejas and one of his nominators. “His love for America, his dedication to learning and his unselfish donation of time to college students and immigrants across the country all contribute to his success.”
He continues to visit schools, book stores and libraries to encourage students and residents to continue their education and is an avid supporter of immigration programs in Illinois.
“José’s accomplishments professionally and academically demonstrate his commitment to higher education, and we are proud to celebrate his successes as well as his induction into our Hall of Fame,” said Patti Friend, director of Alumni and Annual Programs for the Moraine Valley Foundation.
Navejas was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame along with Dylan Lloyd, of Chicago; Holly Bartecki, of Chicago; and Dave Shalabi, of Orland Park.