LA CROSSE, WI (WKBT) -

A University of Wisconsin-La Crosse history professor has been named the Wisconsin Professor of the Year.

Victor Macías-González, who has been teaching at UW-L since 2000, specializes in 19th Century Latin American history and teaches courses on the history of Mexico, Spain and South America.

Macías-González will receive his award Thursday in Washington, D.C. The award, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, is part of the U.S. Professor of the Year Program. The program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country.

“I’m very honored and I’m glad that this gives us the opportunity to bring the spotlight to our campus and the quality work that we do here,” Macías-González said.

He says this award is a tribute to all of the hard work and sacrifices his parents made over the years to send four children through school. Macías-González and his family moved to the United States from Mexico when he was in fourth grade.

“My parents are both immigrants. We came to this country with a moving truck, half which was books and the rest was all of our earthly belongings,” Macías-González said.

Macías-González has taken a specific interest in working with under-represented and first-generation students. In 2008, he and Barbara Stewart, UW-L associate dean for Campus Climate and Diversity, created UW-L’s Eagle Mentoring Program. It’s a retention initiative for under-represented, underprivileged second-year students.

Macías-González also developed five new courses in the past seven years and developed online courses.

“Education is the key to success and education can be accessed by many and institutions like UW-L are places where many of us can find opportunity,” Macías-González said.