Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Celebrating Latino Heritage at Mizzou

September 15 - October 15, 2013 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. In celebration, the Student Center has put up a new exhibit in the Lower Lair lounge titled, “Celebrating Latino Heritage at Mizzou”. The display chronicles the University’s increasing diversity and the changing face of its Latino community through the stories of students, professors, staff, and campus organizations at MU dating back to the 19th century. The exhibition will be on view during the months of September and October. Here are some highlights:  
The total number of students enrolled at MU is continually rising and even though students who identify as Hispanic only make up roughly 3% of the total student body, they are one of the fastest growing demographics on campus. In the past decade, total student enrollment as increased by 30%, but Hispanic student enrollment has increased by a whopping 140%.


Tranquilino Luna, an American citizen of Mexican heritage from the Territory of New Mexico, attended MU c. 1870. He was elected as a Republican Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1881-1883. After leaving that position, he became the Sheriff of Valencia County, New Mexico.

(Missouri Alumnus, May 1980)
In 1982, the College of Engineering presented Jaime Andres Sandoval (B.S. Engineering ‘30, C.E. ’31) with its highest award, Missouri Honor Awards for Distinguished Service in Engineering. Originally from Mexico, Sandoval was a successful business man as well as an engineer. Among his many achievements Sandoval founded an engineering company, opened a travel agency and a bank with more than 600 branches around the world, acquired a Hertz rental franchise and established a hospital in Mexico that specializes in brain and plastic surgery.

(Savitar, 1954)
Renowned Mexican actress Beatriz (Betty Ann) Sheridan (B.A. ’55) worked in telenovelas and on the theater stage until her death in 2006. She starred in the first Mexican telenovela, called Senda Prohibida (Forbidden Path), in 1958. She was also Mexico’s first female soap opera director. In 2004, the UNESCO International Theatre Institute awarded her a medal for her life's work in the theater.

(Missouri Alumnus, March 1979)
Acclaimed Cuban-American pianist Santiago Rodriguez was called “one of the finest pianists in the international scene” by The Washington Post. Rodriguez received the Master of Music degree from Julliard. He began his teaching career in the late 1970s when he came to MU as an artist-in-residence. Rodriguez came to the United States from Cuba at the age of nine as part of Operation Peter Pan in the 1960s, which brought 14,000 Cuban children to the U.S. to escape political unrest during Fidel Castro’s regime.

(Savitar, 1984)
Elizabeth Vargas (B.J. Journalism ’84) is a co-anchor of 20/20, host of ABC News Specials, and previously an anchor of World News Tonight. She won an Emmy in 2000 for her live coverage of the Elian Gonzales case. Vargas is of Puerto Rican and Irish-American heritage.
(Savitar, 2001)
In 1997, Dr. Manuel T. Pacheco was unanimously named the 19th President of the University of Missouri. Among other accomplishments, he was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America by Hispanic Business Magazine, is a former Fulbright Fellow, and the winner of the Hispanic Achievement Trailblazer Award from Hispanic Magazine. MU named a Leadership Award after him, the “Manuel T. Pacheco Leadership Award”, which honors academic administrators who “exemplify outstanding academic leadership at the University of Missouri.”

(Savitar, 1953)
The Inter-American Club was an active organization on campus from the mid-1940s through the mid-1950s. The group’s primary interest was to increase the visibility and understanding of Latin American cultures among students in the United States. Members included international students from multiple Latin American countries and students of Latino descent, as well as non-Latino students with a passion for Latin American affairs and culture. The group sponsored various social activities throughout the year including Pan-American Day, which took place in the spring. In this photo, MU Classics Professor and international student advocate Jesse Wrench is seated in the center of the second row.

(2003 – Image courtesy of HALO)
According to their self-stated mission, HALO (Hispanic American Leadership Organization) “raises awareness about Latino issues on campus, promotes Latino heritage, breaks down stereotypes, and serves the community through service and hosting events that are both educational and fun.” In this photo, HALO members perform a traditional dance at MU’s International Night. Mizzou’s HALO chapter was founded in 1992.

(Savitar, 2003)
A historically Latina sorority, Sigma Lambda Gamma was founded at the University of Iowa in 1990. Since its inception, the sorority has grown to more than 100 universities nationwide and has expanded its membership to include a variety of multicultural backgrounds. The sorority’s five fundamental principles (academics, community service, cultural awareness, social interaction, and morals and ethics) are meant to unite members as “hermanas por vida” (sisters for life). The MU chapter was founded in 2000.

Authored by Sarah Horne, PhD Student in Art History and Archaeology

To connect with the Hispanic community at MU, check out these organizations:

o   Club de Español

o   Cuban American Undergraduate Student Association

o   HALO (Hispanic American Leadership Organization)

o   HLSA (Hispanic Law Students Association)

o   Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers