2021 Distinguished Alum Recipient Announced

Sam Centellas is the Executive Director of La Casa de Amistad a Latino focused non-profit community center on the West Side of South Bend.

Sam is a Bolivian immigrant who moved to Michigan in the first grade. He loves cars and is an engineer by trade, an administrator by training and an educator by heart.

Sam received his Bachelors degree in Engineering, Communications and Fine Art at Western Michigan University. After graduation he worked at Grand Valley State University in the Student Life Office while getting his Master of Education degree in College Student Affairs Leadership. He worked for colleges, including Ivy Tech, for over ten years.

Since joining the staff at La Casa in 2013 Sam has doubled their event fundraising income and started their first endowment with the Community Foundation. Under Sam’s leadership La Casa launched its immigration legal program, new youth programs, city ID programs and helped start #WestSideWednesday to empower immigrant, Latino, and westside owned businesses. In 2021 the organization will move to a newly renovated 41,000+ square foot center to increase their reach and impact in the community.

Sam’s involvements range from economic development, to hazing prevention, leadership development of college students, and community organizing. Sam was appointed by the Mayor of South Bend as a Commissioner to the Housing Authority and to the Diversity Utilization Board helping develop minority and women owned businesses. Sam serves as a national trustee for his Latino-focused fraternity education foundation and locally serves on the Board of the Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, the Executive Committee for the Latin American Chamber of Commerce and is the chair of the South Bend Empowerment Zone.

Learn more about Commencement 2021 here.