Hispanic Heritage Month

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Photo by Elsa Feltl

Hispanic Heritage Month begins on Sep. 15 and will end on Oct. 15. The commemoration began with Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week. Under Ronald Reagan, the week was expanded to Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988, according to the National Archives.

“We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success,” states the National Archives website.

This year’s commemoration coincides with an increased Hispanic population on the University of Dallas campus. This year’s freshman class is almost a third Hispanic, according to an Aug. 23 press release. In addition, UD has recently partnered with Vera Aqua Vera Vita, a charitable organization that presented at Mate Monday on Oct. 4. Associated with the History Department, the Latin American Studies concentration continues to grow.

“This is the best time to study in the Latin American Studies concentration,” said Joseph Farley, a junior history major pursuing the concentration. “We have great professors like Dr. Petersen and Dr. Espericueta.”

“They’re both passionate and knowledgeable [about] this really interesting part of history,” Farley said. “Dr. Espericueta is particularly good at integrating Catholic history and theology which is really helpful,” Farley said.

The Latin American Studies concentration gives students a view of an often neglected part of Catholic history, said Farley. While most will focus on Catholicism in Europe, studying Latin American history gives one a broader look at the Church’s history.

The Spanish program faculty collaborated with the Cowan-Blakley Memorial Library in this display. Books on display included “Mexican-Tales” by Bernice I. Goodspeed and “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez.

Among the displays on Spanish language books are images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, and oil paintings such as “Camille and the Blue Bottles” and a piece on loan from Giovanni Gonzale.

“We want to focus on and recognize the growing Hispanic presence at our school,” said Susannah Buck, Special Collections and Archives Librarian. 

Hispanic Heritage Month will continue to be commemorated in upcoming Mate Mondays and a movie feature on Oct. 8. As the Hispanic and Latino populations grow on campus, the university will continue to grow and appreciate its cultural heritage.

Sara Mora, a junior psychology major with a Spanish concentration, hails from Monteria, Colombia. “I think Hispanic Appreciation Month is awesome because you need to remember the culture and celebrate it.”

“For me, I’m so far away from home since my family moved to four different countries while I was growing up. We left Colombia when I was six. I appreciate the displays in the library because it reminds me of what’s important. Hispanic countries are super religious and have a great devotion to Our Lady.”

Oct. 12 correction: Two books previously cited in this article were incorrectly listed as part of the Hispanic Heritage Month book display. Books on display included “Mexican-Tales” by Bernice I. Goodspeed and “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez. The Spanish program faculty collaborated with the Cowan-Blakley Memorial Library in this display. Furthermore, the Latin American Studies concentration is associated with the History department but is a collaboration between the History, Modern Languages, and other departments.

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