National Hispanic Heritage Month

The Office of Latino Programs and Services celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month each fall with several activities on campus.

Our 2014 keynote speaker is Gilbert Esquivel. Gilbert is a unique voice in stand-up comedy, able to entertain an audience of inner-city youth to a room of senior citizens without missing a beat. His ability to ad-lib has made him a favorite of many television producers to warm-up studio audiences for such shows as American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, and Star Search and many more. Gilbert started is career at The Ice House Comedy Club. He's also appeared on BET's Comicview, Laffapalooza, and Que Locos. Gilbert won the first Latino comedy search just two years into his comedy and went to perform on such stages as the Apollo Theatre to Ceasers Palace Las Vegas. He has also performed in many churches, prisons, and universities throughout the country, sharing his experiences of growing up all over the United States as a Migrant worker. Please join us on October 2, from 8:00-9:00 p.m. in the James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union Multi-Purpose Room 102.

Some other events taking place this year that we invite you to join us at are the National Hispanic Heritage Kick-off Reception on September 15, from 6:00-7:30 p.m., in the Student Union Ballroom, 107A, the Latino Music Fest on September 26, from 7:00-10:00 p.m., in the Student Union Ballroom, 107A, the "Champions Among Ourselves" Panel Discussion on Oct. 3 from 1:00-2:30 p.m., in the University Center, Otto M. Budig Theatre and the 3 vs 3 Outdoor Soccer Tournament on Oct. 15 at 6:00 p.m. that takes place at the Intermural Fields. Please contact Diane Maldonaldo at for more information or to RSVP for an event. To see a complete list of the 2014/2015 calendar of events please click here.

Our keynote speaker for 2013 was Victor Villasenor who is the author of the national bestsellers Rain of Gold, Thirteen Senses, and Burro Genius, as well as other critically acclaimed books such as Crazy Loco Love, Wild Setps of Heaven, and Macho!. He is also the author of five ancestral-themed bilingual children's books and has writeen several screenplays, including the award-winning Ballad of Gregorio Cortez. Villasenor, a gifted and accomplished speaker, continues to live on the North County San Diego ranch were he grew up and is currently writing the finishing touches of Revenge of a Catholic School Boy, which will be available as an ebook in mid September.

In 2012 Mariela Dabbah was our keynote speaker. For the last fifteen years this author, speaker, and web personality has devoted her enormous energy to helping young Latino students, women and professionals, succeed in their quest of education and successful careers in the United States.

One of the guests at the 2011 celebration was Jose Galvez, who tours colleges and universities around the country with his lecture/presentation entitled, Shine, and the title of his exhibit is Al Norte al Norte: Latino Life in the United States. He has won numerous awards such as the Pulitzer Prize, which made him one of the first Mexican-American jounrnalist to win this award. He has used black and white film to demonstrate the Latino experience in America and will be exhibiting a few of his pieces while on campus.

In 2010 Joe Hernandez spoke during National Hispanic Heritage Month. Joe is a actor/poet/comedian that is known for his performances that are hard-hitting, truthful, and incredibly funny. He was the host/co-writer of Not So Foreign Filmmakers Showcase, where he was able to combine his comedic writing and performing with his passion for Latino film.

Our keynote speaker in 2009 was Sylvia Mendez, a civil rights activist of Mexican-Puerto Rican heritage. At age eight, she played an instrumental role in a landmark school desegregation case.

In the fall of 2008, political activist Dolores Huerta was the keynote speaker. The video below of her presentation was produced by Bryan Houston of Norse Media, who won a Blue Chip Cable Access Award for best cultural awareness video.