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Ray Aguilera

2023 Inductee

Ray Aguilera (1942-2021) dedicated himself to the Pueblo community by committing to change through youth education, civic engagement, and community stewardship. Mr. Aguilera was born to Mexican immigrants, Rose and Pete Aguilera, who instilled in him a great sense of pride for his culture and heritage.

As Founder and President of Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation (PHEF) from 1988 to 1999, Mr. Aguilera helped provide over 1,000 students with scholarships, organized financial aid workshops, and established a pre-collegiate program. He encouraged higher graduation standards to prepare students for college and set expectations of Hispanic students to obtain a college degree.

Ray Aguilera’s many awards include: 1988 Latino Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year, 1994 Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and 2007 Pueblo Latino Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mr. Aguilera was appointed to the Caring for Colorado Board by Governor Bill Owens, to the Education Commission of the States, and elected to Pueblo City Council for multiple terms. Ray Aguilera was recognized nationally for his dedication and continuous support of the Pueblo Community, through the 2007 United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Advocate of the Year and 2019 NAACP Pueblo Community Empowerment Award. He was known as “Mayor of Bessemer” and due to his profound impact, Governor Jared Polis proclaimed May 18, 2021 as Ray Aguilera Day.

2023 Inductee