Interim President's Message: Hispanic Heritage Month
This week, commences the month-long celebration honoring the influence and strength of the diverse Hispanic cultures in the United States. Hispanic Heritage Month, deemed a period for recognition, education, and celebration, addresses the significant contributions of more than 60 million Latino/a/x and Hispanic Americans to our culture and society.
First introduced as a seven-day celebration by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968, the country has progressed to a month-long celebration honoring and acknowledging the cultural history and sabor that generations of Americans from Spanish-speaking ancestry have added to the U.S. The start of Hispanic Heritage month, September 15th, coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates her Independence Day on September 16th followed shortly thereafter by Chile on September 18th.
As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the University of Houston-Downtown celebrates and recognizes the significant influence our Latino/a/x and Hispanic faculty, staff, and students have had on our city, state, and nation. UHD has a long history of graduating students that contribute their time and talents to the community. Notable UHD alumni include Paula M. Mendoza, CEO of Possible Missions and former University of Houston System Regent; Ed Gonzalez, Sheriff of Harris County; and Mariselle Quijano, Owner/Operator-McDonald’s Restaurants, to name a few. My own background in education and leadership has been influenced by the rich socio-cultural and historical traditions of these communities embedded in the rich literary works of Julia Álvarez, Jesús Abraham (Tato) Laviera, Helena María Viramontes, Junot Díaz, Esmeralda Santiago, Carlos Guillermo Wilson, among others.
As we celebrate the vast diversity of our campus community, UHD joins the greater Houston area in offering numerous academic and cultural activities scheduled in commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month. ¡Qué viva la comunidad hispana!
Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D.
Interim President, University of Houston-Downtown