“She was only a first-grader, but Ida Castro knew it was wrong when a teacher warned her not to translate instructions for a classmate who spoke only Spanish,” wrote The Washington Post. Castro has never forgotten with bigotry left a lasting impression on Castro. At age 20, she became the youngest, and only, woman on the City Cabinet in Carolina, Puerto Rico. She also was the first Latina named to the New Jersey Commission on the Status of Women and tenured as an associate professor at Rutgers’ Institute for Management and Labor Relations. From 1994–96, Castro was deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, where she earned two Hammer awards for efficiency in government. In 1998, she became chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—the first Latina to head the nation’s top civil rights agency. Three years later, she became director of the Democratic National Committee’s Women’s Vote Center. And, in January 2002, she became the first Latina commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Personnel, a position she held until she resigned in 2007 to become the Haywood Burns Chair in Civil Rights at CUNY School of Law.
Ida L. Castro
Commissioner, New Jersey Department Of Personnel
Graduate School–New Brunswick 1978, School of Law–Newark 1982
Hall of Distinguished Alumni Class of