Looking back to the beginning of what would become an illustrious career, it does not seem that Gonzalez would end up at the forefront of education. Although the mentality of hard work was instilled in him by his father from a young age, in the formal education establishment he initially identified as a “slacker” and took vocational courses while working in retail. When this became no longer viable and the economy slumped, one of Gonzales’ friends mentioned the idea of going to college. From here, the rest is history.
Starting at Miami-Dade Junior College, Gonzalez unlocked the desire to learn that became his motivation to pursue liberal arts/academia. Working his way up from the ground floor, Gonzalez earned three degrees from the University of Florida, eventually serving as interim dean of the College of Education at the University of Florida and, ultimately, the Dean of the Indiana University School of Education.
Gonzalez’ dedication to helping others characterized his career as a student, starting with BACCHUS (Boost Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students), an organization he founded as an undergraduate to improve alcohol abuse/prevention awareness among students.
From this jumping-off point, Gonzalez moved into higher-level roles in academia, starting as a faculty member in counselor education, moving up the ranks to increasing responsibility and administration.
A tireless advocate for quality education and health promotion, Dr. Gonzalez has been a spokesperson and proponent of creating a seamless system of education from pre-kindergarten through college to serve the needs of all students. He has actively promoted state and national policies to achieve this goal and prepare educators who can effectively work with diverse populations to impact leadership development and student learning throughout the world.