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News Release

Sept. 16, 2022

Northwest celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with movie, alumnus lecture, spice-making, salsa dancing

By Karissa Rickman, communication assistant

Northwest Missouri State University will commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month with a lecture featuring an alumnus of the University among a variety of other activities through October.

“Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to acknowledge the contributions of Hispanic and Latino/a/x Americans,” Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Justin Mallett said. “The theme of ‘Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation’ allows Northwest to be an institution that celebrates multiculturalism, incorporating diverse cultures and traditions that allow us to foster an inclusive campus community.” 

Northwest kicks off its commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month with a showing of the movie “In the Heights” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Boardroom. The film depicts themes of culture, identity, community, gentrification and the rights of undocumented immigrants.

Thomas Sanchez

Thomas Sanchez

Then, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, in the Student Union Boardroom, the Northwest community is invited to hear Thomas Sanchez share his experiences as a Hispanic person and a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Sanchez has been credited as one of the “most innovative people in Washington, D.C.” and a top “minority business leader.” As chief executive officer and founder of Social Driver, he leads the digital agency that helps clients connect with people through social media, websites, video and digital advertising. Social Driver’s collaborative culture and cutting-edge strategies have been featured in media appearances on CBS and BBC as well as in The Washington Post.

His career began in the emerging healthcare informatics industry with Cerner Corporation, where he helped launch products and services throughout the world. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth, and he served on the Northwest Foundation Board of Directors from 2016 until his term ended last spring.

Northwest also will host “Spice it Up” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, in the Student Union, giving attendees an opportunity to make authentic Hispanic spices. Then, at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 in the Student Union Boardroom, “Salsa Magic!” will feature an expert salsa dancer providing salsa dancing instruction.

Hispanic Heritage Month activities are sponsored by Northwest’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. All events are free and open to the public.

The national recognition for Hispanic Heritage Month dates to 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson recognized the first Hispanic Heritage Week. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan expanded the week to cover the 30-day period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, with the start date marking the anniversary of the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215