Many outstanding Latinos, Latinas & Latinxs have helped to shape Iowa and continue to contribute their talents and skills to improve the quality of life in this state. These Latino leaders are essential workers, political, racial justice, and social activists, scientists, educators, writers, and spiritual and community leaders.

To recognize and honor these achievers and to provide visible examples for tomorrow’s Latino leaders, the Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs established the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame in 2017 to ensure that their efforts are honorably recognized, celebrated, and remembered. The Iowa Latinx Youth Leadership Award and the Robert D. Ray Award for Equity & Justice were added in 2018.  In 2020, the LGBTQIA Leadership Award for Iowa's People of Color was added. 

Their induction into the Iowa Latino Hall of Fame will enhance the visibility of their contributions to their work, communities, and the status of Latinos in Iowa, the country and the world. Each year, the inductees will be recognized during the annual Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Ceremony, which takes place during National Latino Heritage Month, September 15 — October 15.

2023 Iowa Latino Hall of Fame Honorees

The Iowa Commission of Latino Affairs is proud to introduce the 2023 Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Ralph Jesse Hernandez, Prole
  • Dr. Jesus Lizarraga Estrada, Cedar Falls
  • Dr. Elizabeth Mendez-Shannon, Iowa City
  • Sister Irene Munoz, Ottumwa
  • Alfonso Perez, Ankeny
  • Al Exito, |drēm|sēd|, Des Moines


Nominations must be submitted electronically by July 1 for consideration that year. Instructions are in 'related files' below. There are four categories of nomination:

Iowa Latino Hall of Fame

Latinos/as inducted into the Hall of Fame have made a major impact on the lives of others and helped to elevate the status of Latinos in our state, our nation, and, in some cases, around the world.

Iowa Latinx Youth Leadership Award

The Latinx Youth Leadership Award is awarded to an Iowa Latinx youth that is making a difference in their community.

Iowa LGBTQIA Leadership Award

Awarded to an Iowa Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, or Asexual Person of Color that has made outstanding and significant cultural, political, social, and economic contributions to Iowa.

Robert D. Ray Award for Equity & Justice

This award recognizes and honors the efforts and accomplishments of non-Latino and/or Latino Iowans. The award is awarded to persons whose work is deemed outstanding and a significant contribution to equity and justice for Iowa's new immigrant populations.

Previous Year Honorees

Iowa Latino Hall of Fame previous year honorees

Program Contact: