Union County College students, faculty and staff celebrated the Opening Ceremony for Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 14 at the College’s Cranford campus. Following the presentation of flags of Hispanic countries by Union’s students, Union County College President Margaret M. McMenamin offered a welcome and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano and Union County Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados each addressed the attendees with remarks supporting and celebrating Hispanic culture.

“Union County College proudly celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month. Here at Union we are a proud Hispanic-Serving Institution and we look forward to this celebration every year,” stated Union’s President McMenamin.

The Keynote Speaker was Ms. Theresa Torres who is the President of the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA). She is a results oriented leader with a passion for creating and building business strategies. Throughout her career Ms. Torres held various senior roles, including having served as the Director of Staffing and Employment Brand and Director of Workforce Performance and Diversity at Verizon.

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Most recently, Ms. Torres fulfilled her personal dream of owning her own business. She launched two new companies, Beso del Sol, LLC; a Natural/Organic Air Brush Studio; and JOTA Consulting LLC, which is focused on delivering strategic guidance to companies in diversity and inclusion, and campus/university relations. In addition, Ms. Torres has served in the areas of development and education within the Latino community as a member of the boards of ASPIRA of New York, 100 Hispanic Women, and as President of the ALPFA New York Chapter.

Ms. Torres’ presentation was followed by a dance performance by the Alborada Spanish Dance Theater, which combines various pieces of Spanish Culture though dance, drama, and music. The dance troupe performed Spanish Gypsy Flamenco, as well as regional and traditional dances from all parts of Spain.

The opening ceremony was also held in celebration of Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week. Union County College is one of four community colleges in New Jersey that has been identified as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. For the next month, Union County College will be celebrating Hispanic culture. For details on upcoming events, please go to www.ucc.edu.