Founders of Puente: Felix Galaviz and Patricia McGrath

Puente Statewide

Puente was founded in 1981 by Felix Galaviz and Patricia McGrath at Chabot College in Hayward. The program was launched as a grassroots initiative to address the low rate of academic achievement among Mexican American and Latino students. In an effort to understand the possible causes of this high dropout rate, Galaviz and McGrath reviewed over 2,000 student transcripts. They discovered three key patterns among Latino students:

  • Students were avoiding academic counseling
  • Students were not enrolling in college-level writing courses
  • Students were the first in their families to attend college

The Puente model that McGrath and Galaviz designed to address these three problems comprised three components: rigorous language arts instruction, sustained academic counseling, and mentoring by members of the community. After an initial pilot of the program proved highly successful, the program was replicated in three additional community colleges. To date, the community college program has expanded to 59 sites throughout the state of California.

Outstanding Results:

  • Over 6,000 students have enrolled in the Puente community college program.
  • Over 2,000 professionals donate more than 18,000 hours annually to Puente students.
  • Community colleges with Puente programs transfer significantly more Latino students to the University of California than colleges without Puente.

At San Diego City College:

2005 - The Puente Program was reinstated at San Diego City College.
2009 - Puente moved into the LRC building on campus.