UIC Latino and Latin American Studies ends Celebration of 40th Anniversary in Humboldt Park

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5 celebratory events bring history, culture community, full circle as founders, graduates, faculty, staff and students mark the occasion
By Maria Borrero, UIC ’14, Puerto Rican Cultural Center College Pipeline staff
Last Friday, November 14th, the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture was the setting for University of Illinois at Chicago’s Agents of Change Celebration. In this event  LALS Program recognized five outstanding alumni who have made a difference to their profession and their community. The founding of the program in 1974 was driven by student activism, which was recognized with the presence of ex-student activist, and former Puerto Rican political prisoner Edwin Cortés. During the late 1970’s and 1980s, UIC students called for curriculum changes and recruitment of students and faculty to reflect neighboring Latino and multicultural communities. Among the alumni recognized as Agents of Change were Ada López, President of Strategic Alliance International, Matthew Rodríguez, Principal of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School, Clarisol Duque, Chicago Chief of Staff at Office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Tania Unzueta, Organizer with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Carlos Heredia, Educator.

The audience enjoyed live music from Laura Crotte and food from Nellie’s restaurant. New and older generations of students and alumni were able to share that beautiful space and engage in very interesting conversations throughout the evening. Many thanks to: Billy Ocasio and the staff of National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, José E. López and the staff of the programs at Puerto Rican Cultural Center; and members of the 40th Anniversary Planning Committee.