Dr. Victor Saenz, associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at UT Austin, will serve as keynote speaker at the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Noche de Gala. The event will celebrate Hispanic-Latino Heritage month from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday. 

The Office of Multicultural Affairs will host Noche de Gala, an evening to celebrate Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday in the Twilight Ballroom.

“[We want] to make it aware to all of our SFA students, faculty and staff, of the many contributions that Hispanic-Latino Americans have made to this country,” Dr. Griselda Flores, assistant director of multicultural affairs, said. “It’s just a way to celebrate a different culture.”

The OMA will provide an evening of entertainment consisting of Latin music and performances, all while learning about the Hispanic-Latino culture.

The event will begin with keynote speaker Dr. Victor Saenz, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at UT Austin. This will be his first time visiting SFA, as well as speaking at the Noche de Gala.

“I am certainly excited to meet new people and share in the celebration to honor our cultural heritage,” Saenz said.

According to Saenz, attendees should expect to learn how his academic journey from the Rio Grande valley to UCLA to UT Austin has been influential to his research interests and his commitment to being a community-engaged scholar.

“I always appreciate the opportunity to visit colleges and universities across Texas and meet students from different parts of the state,” Saenz said. “As someone who does research on Texas higher education issues, I find that these connections often lead to new insights and question in my own research. I am also honored to support an institution that puts so much emphasis on events that highlight the great cultural diversity within the state of Texas.”

Hispanic-Latino Heritage month begins on Sept. 15 and continues until Oct. 15. Admission for Noche de Gala is $7 for faculty, staff or community member and $5 for students. It is recommended to dress to impress, according to the OMA calendar.

According to their website, OMA hopes to create a campus environment where all students, staff and faculty feel welcome and included. Noche de Gala is just another example of that effort.

“Our office is focused on education, empowerment and engagement,” Veronica Weaver, director of multicultural affairs, said.

“We develop programs that target issues related but not limited to ability, status, age, ethnicity, gender, national origin, native language, race, religion, sexual orientation, globalization and socioeconomic background. We believe that, as an office, we play a significant role in creating a campus climate in which the benefits of diversity and social justice can be realized. We also celebrate the various cultures on our campus.” 

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