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Award of Academic Merit Medal Doctor José Tola Pasquel to Doctor Altagracia López

With great pleasure, I take on the challenge of summarizing in a few words the profile of Dr. Altagracia Lopez, on the occasion of this recognition that CINDA is giving her with a generous gesture. For several decades, our recipient has been a source of light in the Dominican educational landscape, in the triple capacity of teacher, researcher and academic leader. Therefore, I have a delicate task ahead of me, which, while it gives me the honor of expressing my admiration for a friend, gives me the feeling that my words could not do full justice to the various nuances of an exemplary life.

I will begin by highlighting that, unlike most of us, Doña Altagracia did not begin her teaching experience in the relative comfort and prestige of the university chair, but in the difficult, sometimes deplorable conditions of work in the primary schools of our country. It is likely that this long trajectory, which forced him to deal with everything from the affective needs of a child to the intellectual demands of a young man, is the key that explains the slow speech, attentive listening and penetrating gaze that we find in her.

As a researcher, Doña Altagracia has devoted much of her interest to understanding the Dominican educational reality. If you allow me to highlight some specific contributions, I will refer to your recent studies on the dynamics of desertion, repetition and efficiency of the degree in Dominican universities, which today constitute the most authoritative contribution on this important topic and the basis for the design of educational policies. And it is good to point out that many of these works, carried out by the Center for Innovation in Higher Education created by Altagracia, have had the support or sponsorship of CINDA.

As a leader, Doña Altagracia contributed for a long time her experience as a member of the National Council of Education, the National Council of Higher Education, the Consultative Council of Civil Society for the Social Cabinet and the Council of the Dominican Association for Self-Study and Accreditation . However, the space where his leadership has exercised the greatest influence is undoubtedly in the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC), where for several periods she served as academic vice-rector and where she served as Rectory in the period 2002-2005. The latter gives her the merit, which I hope it wasn't, of being the only woman to have held that position in our institutional history.

During the rectorial period of Doña Altagracia, INTEC faced the need to initiate an adaptation to the complex transformations that higher education is going through all over the world, and particularly in the Ibero-American countries, and decisions were adopted from which subsequent rectors we feel like heirs. But the demands of the rectory did not exhaust the forces of our awardee, so the sarcastic, but sometimes realistic phrase cannot be applied to her, that the main occupation of the past rectors is to talk about the things they did when they were rectors .

On the contrary, Doña Altagracia has an active life on different fronts. As an advisor to the ministry, she has provided her wisdom to the National Commission for the Five-Year Evaluation of Dominican universities, and is currently President of the Superior Council of the College of the Americas. She also participates in the Superior Council of the Microsoft Alliance for Education Program and is a member of the organization Mujeres en Desarrollo (MUDE). In addition, he performs a beautiful voluntary social work as President of the Sowers of Hope Foundation, which works with malnourished children and elderly people living in poverty.

Those merits would be enough to justify my admiration for the life and work of Dr. Lopez. However, I want to conclude by highlighting other virtues without which its purely academic merits might not make total sense. Those of us who know her find in Doña Altagracia a serene and balanced personality, whose capacity for judgment makes her a desirable piece in the formation of any work team. In the context of a discussion, their reproaches do not come through hurtful words or knocks on the table, but in much more subtle and effective ways, such as expressive silences, arched eyes or dilated pupils - three characteristic instruments that Doña Altagracia applies according to your degree of disagreement with what was raised by your interlocutor. Finally, I want it to be formally recorded in the Minutes that Doña Altagracia is an enthusiastic merengue dancer, something that you will be able to verify when we again hold the Board of Directors meeting in Santo Domingo.

In sum, this recognition is a source of joy for those of us who see in the winner an example of life to follow, and on the other hand, the fact that in the select group of figures who have received this prestigious award There are now two past INTEC rectors, which in some way makes this moment a sign of CINDA's appreciation for the collaborative vocation of our community.