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Martin Perez, founder and president of the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey (LLANJ) and a Rutgers alumnus, took the oath of office Monday to become a member of the Rutgers Board of Governors.

Perez joins the board as a public member appointed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. As a result of the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act, which became effective July 1, the Board of Governors was expanded from 11 to 15 members. New Jersey’s governor now appoints eight board members. Rutgers’ Board of Trustees appoints the remainder.

Martin Perez
Martin Perez

Perez, a 1986 graduate of Rutgers School of Law-Newark, launched the LLANJ in 1991 to consolidate and sharpen the focus of the many Latino organizations throughout the state. The alliance enabled Latino leaders to address such important issues for their constituents as education, health care reform and public safety. Since its creation, the alliance has spun off a foundation and formed a political action committee to ensure that concerns of its stakeholders are heard in Trenton and throughout the Garden State. With New Jersey’s growing Latino population gaining political power, the alliance is playing an increasingly prominent role in improving the quality of life of its constituents.

“The Board of Governors is pleased to welcome Mr. Perez and we look forward to utilizing his expertise and experience as we chart an even brighter future for Rutgers University and the people that it serves,” said Gerald C. Harvey, chair of the Rutgers University Board of Governors.

Born in Puerto Rico, where as a teenager he organized peace marches and later worked as a labor organizer for the island’s farm workers, Perez earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and labor studies from the University of Puerto Rico. He came to New Jersey and earned a master’s degree in secondary education from Seton Hall University and a law degree from Rutgers before becoming a trial attorney for the Hudson County public defender. Perez and his wife, Patricia Bombelyn, founded the law firm of Perez & Bombelyn located in New Brunswick.

Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is America’s eighth-oldest institution of higher learning and one of the nation’s premier public research universities. Serving more than 65,000 students on campuses, centers, institutes and other locations throughout the state, Rutgers is the only public university in New Jersey that is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.