Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004
Peace Corps Director
The Peace Corps: Promoting Peace and Friendship in the 21st Century
In 2002, Gaddi Vasquez came to Peace Corps from the Southern California Edison Company where he was division vice president of public affairs. He serves as the Agency's first Hispanic-American director. Previously, he has served in the administrations of former California Governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis. He was twice appointed by former President George H. W. Bush to federal commissions.
Vasquez’ 22-year public service career includes service at the city, county, state and federal levels of government. He began his service as a police officer in the City of Orange, Calif.
Vasquez has a long record of activity in community affairs. He has served on the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, the board of directors of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and the national advisory board of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals.
At the local level, he served on the board of directors of the Orange County Council for the Boy Scouts of America, the National Conference for Community and Justice, the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, KOCE-TV Foundation (a PBS affiliate) and is a co-founding chairman of the Orange County Hispanic Education Fund which has raised more than $1 million to fund scholarships for Latino students in Orange County. Vasquez also served on the advisory board of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and on the Board of Directors of Olive Crest, an organization dedicated to the protection and development of children and youth who are neglected, abandoned and abused.
A native of Carrizo Springs, Texas, Vasquez' parents were migrant farm workers of Mexican descent, who instilled in him a strong work ethic and the desire to succeed, despite adverse circumstances. He is the first member of his family to earn a college degree. He is a graduate of the University of Redlands and has served as a trustee professor at Chapman University.
Vasquez has received numerous awards for leadership and community service including the Coro Foundation Crystal Eagle Award, the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund Globe and Anchor Award. He is the recipient of the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce Award for Community Leadership, the Jewish National Fund Tree of Life Award, the B'nai Brith Award for Leadership and Community Service. He was also recognized by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.