Alum brings Latino roots and passion for community service to Governor’s Advisory Commission

Ed Lanza ’89
Attorney and member of the Governor’s Advisory Commission for Latino Affairs
Harrisburg, Pa.

An attorney, activist and advocate, Ed Lanza ’89 strives to address the needs in his community one day at a time.

Born in Honduras, Lanza moved to the United States as a teenager. Still relatively new to the U.S. when he came to Messiah College as a politics major, Lanza became involved with the International Student Association (ISA) and enjoyed the camaraderie of connecting with other students who were making the same transition.

“Although I had been in the U.S. for a few years, it was great to be part of an international group,” said Lanza. “We commiserated with each other about our new experience and adjusted to the change together.”

After college, Lanza began working as a clerk at a law firm in New York City that was seeking someone who was bilingual. Originally, Lanza had no plans to become a lawyer, but following his work as a clerk and paralegal, he returned to central Pennsylvania to attend the Penn State Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle.

Throughout law school, Lanza became involved in many professional networking groups and met others who shared a passion to help people in the community. His strong desire to serve led him and several of his peers to begin the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Central PA.

“Myself and several others in the Harrisburg area saw a need for a business advocate group for Latinos,” said Lanza. “There is such an entrepreneurial spirit among Latinos. We wanted to provide a resource to have folks who were experienced with starting a business be available to mentor others wanting to start their own.”

Through his work with the chamber and other similar groups, Lanza developed a highly regarded reputation as a strong community advocate for Latino affairs. This summer, Lanza was recognized on a statewide level when he was asked to serve a two-year term on Governor Corbett’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (GACLA) beginning in July.

GACLA is comprised of 24 business, education and nonprofit leaders from across the Commonwealth. In his role on the commission, Lanza brings the pressing issues of the Latino community statewide to the administration’s attention and then offers ideas and recommendations to address the concerns. This year, the committee will focus specifically on education, business development and civic engagement.

Beyond his work with GACLA and as a public utilities attorney, Lanza serves on several boards of directors and councils, including the President’s Leadership Council at Messiah.

“I think my desire to serve others came from my time at Messiah,” said Lanza. “There is such a strong focus on service, and as a student you learn about service and outreach to the community and doing what you can to help other people. Throughout my career, I’ve had many people help me and I feel a responsibility to help others in the same way.”

–Erin Bray ’10

Posted in 1989, Alumni, Intl' Students, Majors & Minors, Politics | Comments Off

Posted on August 16th, 2012

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