Latino Heritage Month Dinner recognizes heritage, history and the future

Richard Alvarez, keynote speaker

Muse Banquet Hall was filled with food, dancing and music at Radford University's first Latino Heritage Month Dinner on Oct. 12.

The theme for the event was "Honoring Our Heritage. Building Our Future." Attendees reflected on the impact of Latinos yesterday and today.

Richard Alvarez, Radford University's chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration, gave a keynote speech about his own Spanish heritage and the importance of family.

Alvarez shared how his father built opportunities out of almost nothing, going from an eighth grade education to a successful career in law enforcement while supporting a growing family.

"I suspect that most of you take your strength from people who have sacrificed so much for you, and you saw just how hard they worked for you," Alvarez said. "I hope you'll carry on that tradition here at Radford, and, after you graduate, wherever you go."

Lorenzo Reyes and Eileen Lagos, president and vice president of the Latino Student Alliance (LSA), served as master and mistress of ceremonies. The pair presented a historical presentation on Latino culture and Reyes wowed the crowd with a vocal performance of "Vamos a Darno Tiempo."

"Holding this dinner for the first time makes me so excited," said Lagos, a sociology major. "I'm very proud of my heritage and I'm so excited I can show other students how we're joined together here to promote cultural awareness and embrace diversity and inclusion."

The LSA promotes Latino culture and participates in numerous philanthropic activities such as raising money for breast cancer awareness, UNICEF and Project Linus.

The LSA was joined in sponsoring the dinner by Radford's Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI).

CDI provides resources to all students, staff and faculty through a variety of programs, activities and services. The office provides a concentrated focus on the progress, success and concerns of underrepresented populations on RU's campus such as African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino American and Native American students. Additionally, the CDI can help find programming and resources for faith/religion and LGBT communities.


Students gathered to celebrate their own heritage and the heritages of their peers at the first annual Latino Heritage Month Dinner.

Oct 13, 2015