Skip to main content

Ambassador José H. Villarreal Q&A

Why Purdue?
The Upward Bound program gave me my first exposure to Purdue University. Once I had spent time at Purdue, there was never a question that I would go there. As a product of what by any definition could only be described as an impoverished background, I was profoundly grateful to Purdue for providing me with a higher education opportunity, and I tried to make the most of it.

Favorite Purdue experience
The serenades we did as freshmen at the women’s dorms and the dress code that required us to wear ties to the mess on Fridays, even if we were wearing jeans or shorts, were experiences that I remember fondly.

Professional/personal accomplishments
I have enjoyed success beyond anything I could have imagined growing up. I am equally proud of all of my private sector, government and non-profit roles. My latest role as United States Commissioner General to the World Expo was perhaps the most interesting, in that it presented me with an opportunity to represent our country abroad, something I had never before done.

Tidbit of wisdom to students
Keep an open mind with respect to one’s future and career. Life offers a kaleidoscope of opportunities and one should have the courage and flexibility to pursue such opportunities.

What this recognition means
This recognition is especially rewarding because it comes from an institution that gave me my proverbial start. Purdue equipped me with the skills and credentials and exposed me to the opportunities that formed the foundation for all of the successes that followed.

BA 1975, Political Science, Purdue University
JD 1979, Mauer School of Law, Indiana University

Professional History
Senior Advisor, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld
Partner, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld
U.S. Commissioner General, Expo 2010 Shanghai
Associate Director, White House Office of Presidential Personnel
Senior Advisor, Senator Hillary Clinton presidential campaign
National Treasurer, Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign
Deputy Campaign Manager, Bill Clinton presidential campaign
Assistant Attorney General, Public Finance Division, Texas Attorney General’s Office

Awards/Honors/Community Service
Awarded Personal Rank of Ambassador by President Barack Obama
Academy of Law Alumni Fellows, Indiana University Mauer School of Law
Chairman of the Board, National Council of La Raza
Board of Directors, Center for American Progress
Board of Directors, New America Alliance
Board of Directors, PMI Group
Board of Directors, Union Pacific
Board of Directors, First Solar, Inc.
Board of Directors, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics, Hispanic Business