The award is given in honor of Dr. Miguel Ornelas, a former Human Relations Commission member and Director of Affirmative Action at BGSU. Before his death in 1989, Dr. Ornelas served as an advocate for issues of diversity, as head of the Ohio Hispanic Institute of Opportunity and as a member of the BGSU Graduate Student Senate, Third World Graduate Association, and La Union de Estudiantes Latinos. He was the recipient of the first Hispanic Award from Project Search.
Dr. Ornelas touched the lives of all who came in contact with him. The Miguel Ornelas Award is intended to bring attention to the actions and services of those who reflect Dr. Ornelas' values.