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UTSA embraces its cultural identity during Hispanic Heritage Month

UTSA embraces its cultural identity during Hispanic Heritage Month

SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 — The University of Texas at San Antonio is celebrating the culture, contributions and heritage of Hispanic Americans during Hispanic Heritage Month with in-person, hybrid and virtual events that showcase community leaders, faculty, staff and students under the theme “Esperanza: A Celebration of Our Heritage and Bold Future.”

The university’s festivities, along with others held across the nation, kick off September 15 and runs through October 15, with UTSA’s events mirroring the national theme and focusing on hope and heritage as the threads running through the month.

“Hope and historical knowledge can both be powerful weapons as we fight for a better and bolder future,” said UTSA Vice President for University Relations Teresa Niño. “This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month events give us so much to reflect upon, to learn and grow from, and we’re excited to share them with our students, our faculty and staff and our community.”

“This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month events give us so much to reflect upon, to learn and grow from.”

A Hispanic-serving Institution that’s advancing as a Hispanic-thriving university, UTSA is ranked third in Texas for Hispanic student enrollment with more than 19,000 students identified as Hispanic or Latino. Most recently, Excelencia in Education, an organization geared toward accelerating Latino student success in higher education, selected UTSA to receive the Seal of Excelencia for its commitment and ability to accelerate Latino student success. The organization also ranked UTSA third out of the top five institutions in Texas for awarding bachelor’s degrees to Latino students.

“The diversity of who we are as a university is our greatest strength and it is best seen when we come together,” said Hispanic Heritage Month organizer and professor of educational psychology Norma Guerra. “Our students are the future and we remain deeply committed to their inclusive educational experiences inside and out of the classroom.

The university’s first Hispanic Heritage Month event begins today at 2 p.m. The UTSA community can also join the Racial Justice Book Club, which, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, will be reading the autobiography I, Rigoburta Menchu, followed by Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas in October. Students who join the book club are eligible to receive the books for free.

Next, the community is invited to attend a virtual panel discussion today at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the partnership between the university and the City of San Antonio to create downtown murals for the new UTSA School of Data Science Building and the National Security Collaboration Center Building.

Local artists will be able to conceptualize and develop a unique focal point within UTSA’s growing downtown footprint and those interested can learn about the RFI (request for information) process. Organizers are also soliciting input through a public art survey.

Additionally, the Multicultural Student Center for Equity and Justice (MSCEJ) and Aramark/Campus Dining are teaming up for Calle UTSAa delicious Instagram Live event where UTSA Chef Jesse Moreno-Valle will create sabrosa dishes including sopa negra (black bean soup) and al estilo Costa Rica y güirilas (a crepe style item made with corn and a cheese filling) from Nicaragua. Anyone is welcome to attend this virtual event at 2 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 20 on Instagram (@utsa_mscej).

The UTSA community is also invited to grab a lunch and join the UTSA College for Health, Community and Policy’s latest event in the Dean's Community Lecture Series, titled Diversity, Equity, Inclusion. What is next? Join on Zoom from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, September 21. The discussion will be moderated by UTSA Vice President for Inclusive Excellence Myron R. Anderson and will feature Marina J. Gonzales, president and CEO of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Chiquita Collins, chief diversity officer for UT Health San Antonio. Interested attendees should RSVP.

The campus community also will have several opportunities over the course of Hispanic Heritage Month to join in-person events. One such event is a panel discussion is Las Mujeres de La Raza Unida (The Women of La Raza Unida) sponsored by UTSA Westside Community Partnerships. The discussion, at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, October 11, in the Buena Vista Theater on the UTSA Downtown Campus, will center on the Chicano right movements of the ’60s and ’70s, when women were often overlooked. The panel will feature four women who were instrumental in bringing about political change to Texas and the U.S.


Film and history buffs will want to attend a documentary screening of "Truly Texas Mexican" and an accompanying presentation by documentary producer Adan Medrano. The event begins at 6 p.m., Wednesday, October 13, in the Buena Vista Theater on the UTSA Downtown Campus, and will feature the just-released documentary that is set in the Texas Coahuiltecan region and discusses issues of social justice through the experience of food and culture from ancient to modern days. Hosted by Community Relations, the presentation will also offer insights into the role of women in San Antonio's history, including the experience of the "Chili Queens."

Tricia Schwennesen

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UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.