Manuel Romero was born in Rodarte, New Mexico. He graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, completed political science graduate work at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico in Mexico City, and received a master’s degree in political science from the University of New Mexico in 1987.
Romero has been an active member of the Latino community for most of his adult life. He is co-founder and past chairman of the University of Utah, Chicano Scholarship Fund Board of Trustees and founder of the Utah Coalition of La Raza. He has served on numerous presidential, congressional and local political campaigns and interned in Washington, D.C. for former New Mexico Congressman and presidential candidate, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. He has taught American Government & Politics at Northern New Mexico Community College, Westminster College and Salt Lake Community College.
Romero was the recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Internship, Hinckley Institute of Politics from University of Utah and the Becas Para Aztlȧn scholarship from the Mexican Government. The National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship provided him with the opportunity to study at Rutgers University. He received an LBJ Fellowship sponsored by the United States Congress, Washington D.C., and was twice awarded grants from the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund. In 2010, he was awarded the Drum Major Award by the Utah Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. He was the recipient of the 2013 César Chávez Peace & Justice Lifetime Achievement Award.