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In addition to his reputation as a successful entrepreneur, Velasquez became known as one of Chicago's most active business and community leaders. He served on numerous corporate, educational, and philanthropic boards — work that he estimated occupied one-third of his time. Velasquez has been a director of Chicago Metro Board of Junior Achievement, Maryville City of Youth, Museum of Science and Industry, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Catholic Charities of Chicago, and Big Shoulders Fund. A trustee of the University of Illinois from 1974 through 1980, Velasquez was the first Hispanic elected to a statewide office in Illinois.