Liam James Doyle/University of St. Thomas

St. Thomas Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off Sept. 15, and St. Thomas organizations have scheduled many events to celebrate Latinx culture ranging from expert speakers on career opportunities to a community lunch with an alumna veteran.

“It is important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to highlight the contributions of our Latinos and Latinas on campus and in the nation, but also to do this throughout the year,” said Alex Hernandez-Siegel, director of the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion Services (SDIS) in the Division of Student Affairs. “We need to continue to bring to the forefront the roles that they have been in, and continue to represent them in government, law, business, the arts and community activism.”

As part of the Hispanic Heritage Month programming, Vicky Hidalgo, senior manager of campus recruiting at U.S. Bank, will be meeting with students on Sept. 20 from noon-1 p.m. to discuss career opportunities in finance and banking. “I find fulfillment in connecting people to opportunities where they can be challenged to grow and supported to thrive,” Hidalgo’s LinkedIn profile says. She has been with U.S. Bank for three years, and previously worked in higher education and for Minneapolis Public Schools.

The question, “Can men be feminists?” will be the foundation of the discussion Unmaking Latinx Masculinities on Thursday, Sept. 30, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Associate Professor Paola Ehrmantraut, PhD, whose research focuses on gender and its representations in Latin American culture, will be teaching about anti-patriarchal and gay-affirming men groups in Latin America. In addition, Ehrmantraut will talk about the creative ways in which men and masculine-presenting individuals are refusing narrow definitions of masculinity in the specific countries of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. 

An alumna will be a part of the Hispanic Heritage Month events as well; Ana Theisen ’06 MA will be the speaker at a community lunch and mentoring conversation on Oct. 4 at noon. She will be discussing her life in the military as a Latina and her path since then.

“I encourage the St. Thomas community to participate and to continue our work in educating the community of the heritage of Latinos and Latinas, their impact on our communities in the U.S., and learn of the foundation they have created in our nations’ history,” Hernandez-Siegel said. For a full listing of the events, which run through mid-October, visit Tommie Link and search for “Student Diversity and Inclusion Services,” “Diversity Activities Board,” and “Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement.”

About Hispanic Heritage Month

Beginning on Sept. 15, Hispanic Heritage Month is filled with celebrations across the U.S. to honor the Latinx culture that is embedded into so many American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 62 million people, or 18% of the U.S. population, identified as Hispanic or Latinx in 2020. Latino Heritage Month began in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, lasting only a week before expanding to a 30-day period during President Ronald Reagan’s term. Enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988, National Hispanic Heritage Month starts on the 15th, as many Latin American countries such as Costa Rica and Guatemala recognize Sept. 15 as their day of independence. The commemoration lasts until Oct. 15 and acknowledges the distinct histories and contributions of these ancestors.