Ernesto Nieto (born October 6, 1940) is the founder of the National Hispanic Institute and has served as President since the organization's inception in 1979. Born in Houston, Texas, Mr. Nieto attended Jefferson Davis High School and entered the University of Houston on an athletic scholarship. Nieto later transferred to Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Education in 1964 with a specialization in special education. After working on his graduate degree at the University of Houston, he served in various management positions in both the state and federal government.In 1979, Mr. Nieto left government to pursue his vision of creating a leadership institute for Latino youth. Twenty eight years later, under his leadership, the National Hispanic Institute has worked with over 120 institutions of higher education and 70,000 high-ability youth from across the nation. In addition to his duties as chief executive officer of the National Hispanic Institute, Mr. Nieto serves on the Board of Trustees of Southwestern University as well as on the Board of Visitors. In 2001, he authored the book Third Reality: Crafting a 21st Century Latino Agenda.