Center for Latino and Latin American Studies Milestones

  • 1986: The Center is created in its current format and housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • 1988: Professor Michael J. Gonzales is appointed Acting Director
  • 1989: Professor Gonzales, following a national search, is appointed Director
  • 1990s: The Center introduces short-term research grants for faculty associates and graduate students, works with Founders Library to expand holdings in Latino and Latin American Studies, begins an ambitious speakers’ series, hires at assistant director, and applies for external grants
  • 1991: The Center organizes a lecture by Cesar Chávez, co-founder of the United Farm Workers
  • 1991: The Center arranges for Gustavo Sainz, one of Mexico’s leading novelists, to be NIU’s first Distinguished Visiting Professor
  • 1992:  The Center organizes a national conference on indigenous cultures in Latin America on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s first voyage to the New World
  • 1992: The Center begins a series of concerts by major musical groups from Latin America, including “Los Folkoristas”
  • 1993-96: The Center organizes lectures by major Latino writers Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, and Jimmy Santiago Baca
  • 1994: The Center, Women’s Studies and Black Studies, organize the first Multi-Cultural Curriculum Transformation Institute, under the sponsorship of the Provost’s Office
  • 1994: The Center publishes the first Encuentros newsletter
  • 1998: The Center, with funding from Motorola Corporation, introduces the Robert Marcelin Undergraduate Scholarship
  • 1998: The Latino Studies Building is constructed to house the Center and the Latino Resource Center
  • 1999: The computer laboratory becomes fully operational
  • 1999: The Center organizes a public lecture by Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, and an exhibit from the Cesar Chávez Museum
  • 2000s: The Center organizes a series of exhibits by local, regional, and international artists in the Latino Center 
  • 2000s: The Center receives a series of grants under the Higher Education Cooperation Act (HECA) to encourage Latino students to become health care professionals. The grant involves collaboration with several regional high schools, community colleges, and health care professionals.
  • 2000s: the Center organizes lectures by major Latin American writers Elena Poniatowska and Sergio Ramírez
  • 2005: The Center wins approval of the Graduate Concentration in Latin American Studies
  • 2006: The Center raises the funds to support the first Latino and Latin American Studies Undergraduate Scholarship
  • 2007: The Center's smart classroom opens