Luis A. Ramos
Luis “Lou” Ramos was an exceptional leader who served our Lehigh Valley community and the Allentown School district with both passion and compassion. His untimely death on Tuesday, January 1, 2008, was the result of a car accident.
A longtime advocate for education, Lou was the chairman of the Allentown School District (ASD) Empowerment Team that drafted a plan in 2001 to boost academic performance. He and the late Dr. Mark Young provided the leadership to ASD when it faced empowerment -- leadership that resulted in the district being removed from this status and beginning a path of improvement.
Lou was widely known in Allentown as a leader who was a founding member of the Hispanic Business Council, a wing of the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce formed in 1987. The council promoted educational opportunities for Hispanics. It merged with the Latin Alliance, another Hispanic community organization, to become today’s Latino Leadership Alliance.
He was a pioneer in promoting the regions Latino businesses and was devoted to fostering education within the Latino community. He was a dedicated employee of P.P.L. Corporation for 34 years. He was appointed to the State Board of Education in 2001 by then-Gov. Tom Ridge and served as chairman of the Council of Basic Education. Lou was also appointed to the U.S. Senate Republican Task Force on Hispanic Affairs and served on the National Assessment Governing Board, an independent, bipartisan group whose members include governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators, business representatives, and members of the general public.
Born in Patillas, Puerto Rico, he and his family came to Bethlehem's South Side when he was 7 years old. A member of Freedom High School's first graduating class, Lou earned an associate degree in engineering from Penn State University and a bachelor's degree from Lehigh University.
An avid soccer player, Lou served as a referee in professional soccer games and later became a coach for the Bethlehem Soccer Club and founded the Lehigh Valley United F.C. soccer Club. He was also instrumental in the formation of the Allentown Youth Soccer League. Lou was on the board of the Minsi Trails Council Boy Scouts of America and was a former trustee of DeSales University.
He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Lehigh Valley Chamber, the Lehigh University Volunteer Service Award, the Minsi Trails Council Boy Scouts of America award and the Community Fabric Award from Northampton Community College.
His position with PPL at the time of his untimely death was as community relations manager for the Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick, PA, which he had held since 2004. He was chairman of the Berwick Area Chamber of Commerce; a board member of the Columbia-Montour Council Boy Scouts of America and Maria Joseph Manor; and was active in fundraising for the Berwick Area United Way, the Columbia-Montour Council Boy Scouts of America, the Berwick Public Library and the Berwick Area Y.M.C.A.
Luis A. Ramos made extraordinary contributions that have led to sustained and meaningful improvements in the ASD. Thousands of children have had the opportunity to receive a better education as a result of his tireless efforts.
It is now up to us that a prestigious naming opportunity be used to honor the legacy of civic leadership and community service left by Lou Ramos. Won’t you please take action and submit your nomination now?
Written by Alicia Ruiz Orbin