Humanitarian Award Recipient, Jose Yenque, Shares Close Bond to CSUSM Campus


Media Contact: Margaret Lutz |

Please note: The Yenque Tradition has been rescheduled from Thursday, October 28, 2010 to Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 7 p.m. For more information, contact (760) 750-8889.

Professional Hollywood actor Jose Yenque, the recent humanitarian honoree at the eleventh annual Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) Awards and a familiar face at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), will return to the San Marcos campus as a guest lecturer along with his mother, renowned stage actress Teresa Yenque, on Tuesday, December 7. Recognized last week in New York for his significant contributions to a variety of humanitarian and educational projects, Yenque was honored with the prestigious ILKA Award, in part for his leadership role in helping expand Hands Across Our Border at CSUSM, a service learning program that connects college-students from both sides of the border.

Best known for his powerful performance in the 2000 Academy Award winning film Traffic, Yenque has been instrumental in broadening the scope of the Hands Across Our Border program, which engages university students from CSUSM and Universidad Autonoma de Baja California (UABC) in Tijuana, Mexico in worthwhile community service, both in the US and in Mexico. Past projects have included painting elementary schools, cleaning and organizing a community food pantry, and preparing shelter homes for homeless families. Since the program's inception in 2006, Hands Across Our Border has brought together hundreds of university students to serve their neighboring communities. As a result of Yenque's collaboration beginning in 2008, the program has grown to incorporate service to the Casa Hogar SIon, an orphanage in an impoverished area of Tijuana, supporting over 100 vulnerable children.

"Participating in Hands Across Our Border has definitely had an impact on my life," said Maria Rocha, a first-generation college student and CSUSM senior majoring in Communication. "Jose has a leadership style and passion that is unmistakably unique. He inspires me to become a better leader and helps me realize it takes passion first and foremost to make a change in the world."

In addition to his pioneering role in Hands Across Our Border, Yenque has also teamed up with CSUSM professors to enhance student experiences, including collaborating with Dr. Darci Strother in 2009 to create an intense study abroad program. This innovative, summer program provided a group of mainly first-generation college-students with the chance to study Spanish drama and acting in the unique context of an international classical theatre festival in Almagro, Spain.

"Jose Yenque's dedication to the students at CSUSM mirrors his larger commitment to giving back on a global scale," shared Strother. "His inspirational work on three continents makes him an extremely deserving recipient of the HOLA ILKA award for humanitarianism, and CSUSM is very fortunate to count him among our campus' friends and supporters."

In 2008 under the direction of filmmaker and CSUSM Professor Kristine Diekman, Yenque co-produced and narrated a 23-minute educational gang-prevention video, titled Never Too Early, Never Too Late.  Free Spanish and English versions of the DVD were distributed to families, law enforcement, and social service organizations nationwide. Currently, Yenque and Diekman are collaborating on a second video advocating for teen pregnancy prevention.

Beyond these campus projects, Yenque has also hosted several in-class as well as community lectures at the university on topics such as acting, adapting narrative to film, Latino theatre, and performance techniques for future teachers. The actor and his mother will be back on campus as guest presenters on Tuesday, December 7. The 7 p.m. lecture, focused on the Yenque Acting Tradition, will feature shared stories from the Yenques and screenings of two of their finest short films, followed by an audience question and answer session. Sponsored by the university's Arts & Lectures series and held at the CSUSM McMahan House, the lecture and film screening is free and open to the public.

Introduced to acting very early in life, Jose Yenque has more than three decades of experience working successfully in theatre, film and television. Among his professional awards are the SAG and the Alma Awards for films such as Steven Soderberg's Academy Award winning Traffic opposite Benicio Del Toro, HBO's The Blue Diner opposite Miriam Colon and his mother Teresa Yenque, and Academy Award winning short film (Student Category) Wednesday Afternoon. He delivered a stand-out performance in Lifetime Network's thriller Between alongside Poppy Montgomery, which earned him the 2007 Imagen Award, honoring positive portrayals of Latinos in entertainment. Most recently, he is seen in the role of "Robert" starring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor in the Mike Mills' feature film Beginners, which is slated for release in 2011.

For more information about Arts & Lectures events at CSUSM, call (760) 750-8889 or visit

What: Hollywood actor and recent HOLA humanitarian honoree Jose Yenque along with his mother, renowned stage actress Teresa Yenque, will host a free lecture and short film screening at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM).

When: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 7 p.m. 

Where: California State University San Marcos - The McMahan House
333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos; Parking is available for a nominal fee, ranging from $3 to $9 depending upon length of stay.

About California State University San Marcos
California State University San Marcos combines the ambiance of a mid-sized, personal, modern campus with the unequaled value of the California State University. Since its founding in 1989, the campus has distinguished itself. Students benefit from the latest facilities and equipment, a superb faculty that enjoys teaching, and a rigorous academic program that prepares students for a successful life in and out of the workplace. A recent survey reported that our annual spending in the region was $161 million, generating a total impact of $307 million on the regional economy. 85 percent of CSUSM's alumni stay in the region. CSU San Marcos is located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos. It is 15 miles east of the ocean; just 30 miles north of downtown San Diego.