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Puente is a national award-winning program that has helped thousands of students reach their dreams of college success. Puente was founded in 1981 by Felix Galaviz and Patricia McGrath, currently co-directors of the project, at Chabot College in Hayward, California. Since then, Puente has been successfully replicated in 38 community colleges and 32 high schools throughout California. Puente is co-sponsored by the California Community Colleges and the University of California. Today, Puente is at Merced College with the first Puente classes to take place in the Fall of 2001. The Merced College Puente Program is hosted by the Humanities and Guidance Divisions of Merced College.


The mission of the Puente Project is to increase the number of educationally underserved students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn degrees, and return to the community as leaders and mentors to future generations. Puente is open to all interested students.


Succeed academically

Are recognized as leaders and scholars

Graduate from four-year colleges and universities

Belong to a statewide network of leaders and professionals        


Puente provides three major areas of service to students to help prepare them for transfer to four-year colleges and universities:


Puente students take two consecutive writing classes, English A and English 1A. These classes provide a supportive and stimulating environment for Puente students with an emphasis on developing writing skills through an exploration of the Mexican American/ Latino experience.


Puente students work closely with their Puente counselor to develop an academic educational plan, explore career options, and identify their goals. Students visit campuses of the University of California and other four-year colleges and attend an annual Puente student transfer conference. Puente students also take Guidance courses in preparation for academic and career success.


Puente students are matched with an academically and professionally successful mentor from the community. The network of trained Puente mentors provides many resources for the Puente students, their families, their colleges, and the community.


Enrique Renteria

Puente Counselor

(209) 381-6595


Vince Piro

Puente Instructor

(209) 384-6385


Mike Barba

Puente Instructor

(209) 381-6407




Other Informative Links:


Puente Project Home Page







 Merced College Puente Program.
Copyright 2001 [Merced College]. All rights reserved.
Revised: April 11, 2013 .
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Page updated  04/11/2013  ~  Merced Community College District