WMU News

Events celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 9, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- An address by a U.S. Department of Education official will highlight the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at Western Michigan University Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

The national observance is intended to recognize Hispanic culture and contributions to American society. All events are free and open to the public.

Norma V. Cantu, assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Education, will speak at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, in the Kirsch Auditorium of the Fetzer Center. She is expected to discuss the importance of a college education, family tradition, the cultural contributions by Latinos to American society and Latino growth in higher education.

Cantu is a graduate of Pan American University and holds her law degree from Harvard University. Before being nominated by President Clinton to her current position in 1993, she was the regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund based in San Antonio, Texas. She also served as national director of that fund's Education Litigation and Advocacy Project, acting as lead counsel in a number of education-related lawsuits.

Currently, Cantu is responsible for enforcing the federal civil rights statutes that protect the rights of students to equal educational opportunities.

The Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at WMU will begin with a kickoff event Monday, Sept. 15. From noon to 1 p.m., the Latino Generation Folklorico Dancers from Muskegon will perform at the Bronco Mall in the Bernhard Center.

A choral group, the Estudiantina de la Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro, will present a program at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The group hails from a university in Mexico that has an exchange agreement with WMU. Dozens of WMU students have studied at the Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro, and many of its students have attended WMU.

The Estudiantina has distinguished itself as one of the outstanding student groups of Mexico. It has toured North America, Europe and Latin America, and has recorded a number of cassettes and compact discs. The students' dress and many of their songs have origins in Spain, where similar groups have existed for centuries.

At 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, a cultural night is scheduled for the South Ballroom of the Bernhard Center. It will feature music and other entertainment as well as a special guest.

From Oct. 6 through 16, a Hispanic Heritage Month book exhibit will be displayed in the showcases on the third floor of Waldo Library.

Hispanic Heritage Month activities are being sponsored by WMU's Hispanic Student Organization, Division of Minority Affairs, Office of Latino Advocate, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Office of Admissions and Orientation and Student Assessment Fee. For more information, persons may call Miguel A. Ramirez in the Division of Minority Affairs at 616 387-3329.

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400