- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2015

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The executive director of the Michigan Hispanic/Latino Commission is retiring after nearly 30 years leading the organization.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights announced Friday that Marylou Olivarez Mason, who retires Dec. 31, was the first woman to hold the position. She launched the Michigan Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, Hispanic Student Summit and Legislative Advocacy Day at the state Capitol.

The department says Mason was appointed director in 1986 by former Gov. James Blanchard after rising through the department’s ranks. Before that, she secured a nursing degree and worked in the medical field.

Mason came to Michigan as a child with her family for seasonal farm work. They eventually settled in Saginaw.

She was inducted last year into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.

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