President's Message: Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month at UHD
Greetings UHD Community,
I hope this message finds you well as we continue the fall semester. I would like to take this moment to recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month and spotlight the contributions, achievements and histories of Latinx communities, especially as they relate to our University.
I am pleased to note that many events have been planned to commemorate this month. These include virtual forums and in-person discussions presented by UHD's Center for Diversity & Inclusion. Among the highlights of Hispanic Heritage Month at UHD are the Gator Achiever Series: Latinx Success on Oct. 6 followed by two events focused on the life and legacy of Tejano legend Selena on Oct. 12 and 13. A complete calendar of events is available online.
I must add that it is also gratifying to see our University featured in the media as UHD was spotlighted last week on FOX26 for its student-created "Aztek Revival" mural and recently acquired collection of Latinx artwork. Our students comprising Mariachi Los Caimanes also were showcased in this segment. Likewise, our professors have been interviewed by other news sources regarding Hispanic Heritage Month.
My hope is that over the coming weeks, we can continue to have honest, engaging and authentic conversations that truly explore the significance of so many Latinx leaders in our community … not to mention UHD's role in the region as a prominent Hispanic-Serving Institution.
As a public institution of higher learning, we aim to educate on the issues facing Latinx people, and we aspire to bring levity, joy and a great sense of pride to Houstonians through the celebration of such rich and diverse cultures.
Perhaps one of our own students, this year's Newman Fellow Miguel Garcia, best sums up the importance of Latinx influences, both past and present, below:
"Whether battlefields of the Civil War, Carlos Juan Finlay's belief that mosquitos transmit disease, Ellen Ochoa's journey to space, or César Milstein's discovery of monoclonal antibodies…Hispanic and Latino people have played a role in building our nation for centuries.
The University of Houston-Downtown's efforts to acknowledge our diverse culture sends a clear message. Our contribution matters. As part of the 48% of the school population identifying as Hispanic or Latino, I appreciate the opportunity to have conversations that lead to understanding and fulfill UHD's mission of an inclusive community."
We have long celebrated the many races, ethnicities and backgrounds of our University, and we will continue to do so for years to come. Thank you for being a part of what makes the University of Houston-Downtown such a great representation of diversity and inclusion.
Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown