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September community letter: Celebrating Latino Heritage Month at Pacific

Mary J. Lomax-Ghirarduzzi

Dear Pacificans,

This week marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month. The yearly celebration, which runs September 15 through October 15, honors the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans who have advanced American society and culture and inspired us to challenge inequality. Called Latino Heritage Month at Pacific, the university will offer a number of exciting events and discussions to celebrate our Hispanic and Latinx students and communities.

Pacific has its own remarkable Hispanic role models who continue to lift others as they climb, including business executive and Pacific Regent Leticia Robles ’89, astronaut and engineer José Hernández ’84, and American labor leader, Dolores Huerta who received an honorary doctorate from Pacific in 2010.

The university is honored to host Huerta, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama for her civil rights and humanitarian leadership, as a keynote speaker on Thursday, September 29 at 6 p.m. at the DeRosa University Center on the Stockton Campus. This event is open to the public and hosted by the Center for Identity and Inclusion.

One of my goals this year is to guide Pacific to becoming a model Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). A designation made by the U.S. Department of Education, an HSI is an eligible college or university with an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic students. The federal designation expands educational opportunities for and improves the academic attainment of Hispanic students.

To support that goal, I’ve worked with thousands of Pacificans to help them think deeply about how we work with our students and how we engage one another. When we apply the principles of this framework into our daily work, our collective action will drive the success of all students and employees.

In the coming weeks you will hear more about our Spring 2023 DEI Challenge for Anti-Racism where new visionary frameworks and tools will be offered for university-wide learning and development. 

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing many of you at our signature events this month. And I urge each of us to find ways to support, serve and uplift our Latinx students, employees and neighbors in the greater Hispanic community.

Sincerely,

Mary J. Lomax-Ghirarduzzi
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Professor of Communication