The Latino Studies Program was founded in 2012 after receiving unanimous support from the School of Liberal Arts and the University Campus. The program was an initiative of the School of Liberal Arts’ Dean, William Blomquist and Associate Dean, Marianne Wokeck. The first faculty members in the program were Robert Aponte (Department of Sociology), Carlton Watterhouse (Robert H. McKinney School of Law), and Rosa Tezanos-Pinto (Department of World Languages and Cultures), Founding Director of Latino Studies, who also wrote the proposals for the Certificate and Minor in Latino Studies. Other faculty who joined later were José Vargas-Vila (World Languages and Cultures) and Michael Snodgrass (History and Global and International Studies). The program was supported at different times by adjunct faculty, Sam Centellas, Anthony Crist, Melissa Trahyn, and Alicia Fleming.
The Latino Studies program a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion was also innovative in its incorporation of multiple departments and programs for two of its electives for the minor and certificate in Latino Studies. Students can choose two of its electives from the School of Liberal Arts (Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Communication Studies, Economics, Education, English, Geography, Global and International Studies, History, Journalism, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology, Spanish) and the Herron School of Art & Design, the School of Education, Health and Human Sciences (including Tourism, Conventions, and Event Management), The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, The Paul H. Oneill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the School of Social Work, and The Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
Service Learning and Civic engagement are an integral part of the Latino Studies Programs and its graduates have gained experience and knowledge working for the Mayor’s office, Homeland Security, schools in the Indianapolis area, Police Department, Fire Department, Animal Care and Control, Citizens Complaint office, Public Safety office, among others.
The Luis Alberto Ambroggio Center for Latino Studies and the Ambroggio Library were created during Professor José Vargas-Vila’s tenure as Director of Latino Studies. The Center located in Cavanaugh Hall 323 also houses the prestigious Indiana Delegation of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language.
The Luis Alberto Ambroggio Award provides support to undergraduate students in the Latino Studies Program. The award honors poet, scholar, and philanthropist, Luis Alberto Ambroggio. He is the author of more than thirty collections of poetry, essays, and short stories published nationally and internationally. His poetry has been translated into several languages and has been selected for the Archives of Hispanic Literature of the Library of Congress. Hyperlink to scholarship.
The Robert Aponte Memorial Scholarship in Latino Studies at IUPUI was created to honor Dr. Aponte, a Professor of Sociology and an Adjunct Professor of Latino Studies. He was also the faculty advisor of the Latino Studies Student Association, which helps to unify the diverse Latino students on the IUPUI campus in the desire to promote academic excellence in their community and the pride that accompanies the knowledge of self. Hyperlink to scholarship
The Latino Studies Program has a visible presence in the State of Indiana by promoting the culture, history, and presence of the Latino population. The program supported “The Gerardo-Piña Rosales’ International Short-Story Contest” in 2021, the Latino Studies Virtual Series beginning in April 2022 with Dean Simon’s Bronner Conference, “On the question of a US border culture and Latinx ethnic identity,” the 2022 International Literary Seminar in Conjunction with the Indiana Delegation of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, and the International Book Fair to take place in summer 2023.