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Students applaud ND’s ranking in Latino survey

Laird, Katie | Thursday, April 8, 2004

Latino students said that Notre Dame’s ranking of No. 9 in the “Top 25 Colleges for Latinos” reaffirms the University’s commitment to promote diversity and provide a welcoming place for all students. This marks the third consecutive year Notre Dame was ranked by “Hispanic Magazine” as being a university with strong academic excellence and Hispanic achievement. Kathya Valdez, a senior majoring in science pre-professional and Spanish, is a first-generation Mexican student from East Chicago, Ind. She said that she chose to attend Notre Dame because she really liked the peaceful atmosphere. “I fell in love with the beautiful campus, the environment and the people,” she said. “I’ve always felt very welcome on campus. I’ve felt very comfortable.” Valdez said that at Notre Dame there are many resources available to Latino students. She is active in campus ministry and added that many clubs reach out to help Hispanic students. Latin Expressions, a talent show put on by Alianza, a student Latino organization, promotes diversity and awareness of other cultures, she said. Additionally, St. Edward Hall’s Spanish Mass is celebrated every Sunday at 1:30 p.m. She also said that a retreat early on in her freshman year helped her to make good friends.”On the Latino Freshman Retreat … [Hispanic students] realize that they’re not alone. The upper classman help out as a support system,” Valdez said. “You can find so many organizations that will support you as a Hispanic student … I’ve had a very good experience here.” Alina Dewit is a first-year student from Guatemala who said that she chose to attend Notre Dame in part because of the opportunities available to her. “I liked the Catholic background … and the size of the school,” she said. Dewit’s older brother also attended Notre Dame. Dewit said that most Latinos who are involved in clubs and organizations are American-Latinos but she said that she too hopes to become more active next year. “Every country has its own details … I want to get involved to see what I can offer as a Guatemalan,” Dewit said. Dewit praised Notre Dame’s efforts to promote diversity.”I do think the University is making a lot of efforts for minorities to relate to others,” she said.Roberto Garcia, an international transfer student from Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, said that academic programs like the Institute for Latino Studies provide opportunities for all students to learn about other cultures. The Institute for Latino Studies, which incorporates a better understanding of the Latino experience in America into an interdisciplinary minor, was founded in 1999 to help Hispanics and students create a greater awareness of their culture and heritage.”I’ve taken classes for Institute of Latino Studies and I think that ND has the most scholars that know a lot about Latino studies,” Garcia said. “You find more American white people that know more about your country.” Garcia said that he likes the support for Latino students on campus. “Sometimes I think they see the Latino guy as only being a Latino,” Garcia said. “But I don’t feel any discrimination against me.” Since he first took office as university president in 1987,University President Father Edward Malloy said that he has made it a priority to diversify the Notre Dame population. Hispanics currently total nearly eight percent of undergraduate enrollment and minority enrollment has increased nearly ten percent since then. “I am very pleased about the dramatic increase in the members of underrepresented groups here at Notre Dame,” Malloy said. “We’re striving to make Notre Dame more clearly resemble the demographics of the country and of the world.” The magazine collected information from various sources including Hispanic scholarship organizations, universities, the U.S. News & World Report’s annual survey “America’s Best Colleges,” and “Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education,” a journal which publishes a list of the top 100 institutions that award bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics, to determine the rankings for this year’s top 25 schools.

Carozza receives grant to teach law