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Alumni

Alumni Spotlight – Carol Keyes

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Carol Keyes

Welcome to the “Alumni Spotlight” monthly series. Learn how our UI&U graduates are living the UI&U mission of engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment.

Education: UI&U Ph.D. graduate (1980)

Profession: Educator, Professor Emeritus Pace University.

Q. What has your degree meant to you personally and professionally?

A. Personally my degree has given me the opportunity to work with wonderful colleagues, and to continue learning.

Professionally it enabled me to teach at Hofstra University, Pace University and the University of Wisconsin, develop programs for children and parents, work with differently abled adults and children, write books and articles for parents, teachers, and the field of early childhood.

Q. What quality do you admire most about your alma mater?

A. The Union process of teaching and learning allowed me to be my own learner. My committee and faculty were wonderful. Were I to have a chance to choose a means to study for a doctoral degree again at this time, I would still choose to study the same way. I value being able to choose what I want to study, when I want to study, and the means by which I will acquire the knowledge and skills. I chose to work alone when it suited me, but in this Union process I had the committee and the network to reach out to in times when assistance was needed. The seminar and peer days were of value for several reasons. The peers provided a firm support in terms of the Union Graduate School process. The network also served to provide guidance and feedback in terms of personal growth. The diverse specialties of our entire group also allowed exposure to many areas of interest.

Q. If you could give advice to a Union student, what would it be?

A. Connect with all other learners and faculty. Be open to experiences and opportunities.

Q. What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?

A. Two main accomplishments come to mind; my books and articles for parents and teachers and helping to develop the National Coalition for Campus Child Care Inc.

Q. What is your passion away from work?

A. Though officially retired, I have more passions than I can enumerate. I will highlight activities with my family; studying, learning, and writing; talking to young folks I meet about options in life. Every day is a gift.

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New Faces at Union

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Meet the new faces in the Career Counselor and Veteran Services positions – Rhia Batson and Will Willett.

Both share the UI&U mission of mission of engaging, enlightening, and empowering adult students to pursue a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Rhia’s goals are to guide students and graduates to sell what is different about them. “I want to help them discover the unique skill-set they bring to the prospective employer.”

She will focus on the improvement of the delivery of career services through accessibility, create special topic webinars on career pathways, improve the job board offerings, and be inventive in her approach to reaching out to students, alumni, and staff.

Rhia has been with Union for almost two years and was formerly the program advisor for psychology and social work students. She is fulfilling her career dream of serving in higher education.

“My career goal has always been to serve in higher education. I believe education is the best platform to make a difference. This new position offers the opportunity to look at students’ needs as a whole and that is exciting.”

Will is a Marine Corps veteran who served one tour in the Air Wing of the USMC and credits the experience with his fortitude.

“Basic training was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life, but having accomplished that I gained confidence and discipline. The military may not be for everyone, but I believe those that did serve should be treated properly by their country and government. There are wounds that you can see, and ones that you cannot; but both should be treated equally.”

Will’s objective is to connect with as many veterans as possible.

“I want to let veterans know about the innovative Veterans in Union program, help inform them about the best ways UI&U can help maximize their service-related educational benefits, and to help them get as many Union-related grants, scholarships, and stipends as possible.”

Rhia holds a Master’s of Science in Education from the University of Dayton and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wilmington College.

Will holds three degrees from Miami University of Ohio; A.S. in Engineering Technology (mechanical focus), a B.S. in Engineering technology (mechanical focus), and a B.S. in Aeronautics with a minor in Decision Sciences.

Rhia Batson

Will Willett

Reach out to Rhia and Will today to find out how Career Services and Veterans in Union can help you with your career path. Contact Rhia at Rhia.Batson@myunion.edu or Will at William.Willet@myunion.edu.

National Commencement Is Almost Here

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National Commencement is almost here. This Saturday, October 28, Union Institute & University will graduate 75 students from 23 states and two countries, ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s. They will join the UI&U elite legacy of alumni who are transforming lives and communities and making a difference in all of their endeavors.

Highlights include:

  • Final commencement address by Dr. Roger H. Sublett, president of Union Institute & University, who retires at the end of June 2018.
  • Keynote by The Most Honorable Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller, former two-term prime minister of Jamaica, a 1997 Union Institute & University alumna and the recipient of the university’s highest honor, the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2001
  • The remembrance of the late Dr. Brian Webb with the new Brian Webb Award for Outstanding Master of Arts Thesis
  • The first TLC – or “tender loving care” award to Mrs. Mary Jestina Taylor, mother of Glenda Taylor, Ph.D. commencer, who is sight impaired, for her unwavering support to her daughter
  • Faculty Awards initiated by the Faculty Council
  • Marvin B. Sussman Award for excellence in dissertation
  • Moment of silence in remembrance of Dr. James Henderson, beloved faculty member who passed away this past February
  • And, much more!

The 2017 National Commencement is Saturday, October 28 at the Hilton Netherland Plaza in downtown Cincinnati. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m.

Adults all over the world choose Union to complete their degree. Learn more about Union’s degree programs by clicking below.

Union’s Community Fest Reaches Out To Neighbors

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Fall was in the air and the soup was hot, as UI&U Cincinnati employees welcomed the Walnut Hills neighborhood at Community Fest on October 12.

The fun filled afternoon offered delicious food, corn hole, building tours, neighbor showcase tables, and a unique way to connect with the neighborhood.

“Community Fest offered a new way to reach out to our neighbors and serve our community,” said Donna Gruber, Cincinnati Academic Center Executive Director. “Union has been part of the Walnut Hills fabric for 28 years and is located in a historic Tudor-style building. The area is a dynamic and vibrant neighborhood that is growing and changing in front of our eyes and Union is a dynamic and vibrant university that serves our community and also attracts many students from across the country. The afternoon gave us an opportunity for us to live our mission: to engage, enlighten, and empower adults to pursue a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.”

Become a Union student and live the mission to engage, enlighten, and empower.

The Most Honorable Portia Simpson Miller To Keynote Her Cincinnati Ohio Alma Mater Commencement

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Portia Simpson Miller

The Most Honorable Portia Lucretia Simpson Miller O.N., B.A. will keynote the Union Institute & University National Commencement on Saturday, October 28, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The former Jamaica Prime Minister is a 1997 graduate of Union Institute & University. Ms. Simpson Miller served as Jamaica’s prime minister from March 2006 to September 2007, and again from January 2012 to March 2016. She retired in 2017, after serving as the leader of Jamaica’s opposition party (People’s National Party).

She, like so many Union alumni and students pursued her education against all odds.

“We are deeply privileged to welcome Ms. Portia Simpson Miller to help celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates at National Commencement,” said Roger H. Sublett, president of Union Institute & University. “She is truly a global ambassador who exemplifies the university’s mission, vision, and values in her words and deeds. She, like so many Union alumni and students, pursued her education against all odds in order to engage, enlighten, and empower those she serves.”

Ms. Simpson Miller says that she chose to study at Union Institute & University to broaden her knowledge base and solidify her academic credentials, which became necessary to advance in a political career that began while she was still in high school.

“It did not matter that I had served my apprenticeship in the intensive workshop of politics and government and had been schooled in the university of life,” she told graduates at UI&U’s 2001 Florida Commencement, where she received the university’s honorary doctorate for her exemplary efforts to improve the quality of life for all Jamaican citizens. “It did not matter that I was routinely called upon to represent my country at conferences all over the world. The absence of a college degree remained an issue in my life.”

“The courage it takes to return to college while working and raising families is the cornerstone of Union’s existence,” said Roger H. Sublett, president of Union Institute & University. “Portia is a living example of where a college degree can take a person. She rose from humble beginnings to become the first female prime minister of Jamaica.”

Not only did she want to ensure that people would not question her intellectual ability, Mrs. Simpson Miller was also motivated to complete her degree to prove something to herself and her constituents, especially to the youth of Jamaica. “Anything you make up your mind to do, you can achieve,” she said. “When you have the power that comes with knowledge, you can use it for the advancement of people’s lives. I will never forget my experience at Union Institute & University because they assisted me in continuing to make a difference.”

Despite her demanding schedule and extensive responsibilities throughout the years since her graduation, she has maintained her friendship with the faculty and staff at Union.

Angela Byles, Florida Academic Center Associate Executive Director, remembers meeting Simpson Miller in 1994 when she enrolled at Union’s Florida Academic Center.

“It was an honor to meet Ms. Simpson Miller for the first time in 1994 when she visited the Florida Center to meet with the Dean. I was struck by how humble she was and easy to talk to. At that time, her portfolio was Minister of Labour and Welfare in Jamaica.” said Byles.

“There are so many qualities that I admire in The Most Honorable Portia Simpson Miller, or – ‘Sista P’(sister) P’ as she is affectionately called. She has a deep love for her country and its people. She has the ability to connect with people from all walks of life. She fought for the equality of women and it is well known that she has been a champion for the poor. She has spent more than 40 years in direct service to her people and her country

Ms. Simpson Miller’s ascension to Jamaica’s highest political office came after having served for 17 years as a Cabinet Minister with portfolio responsibility for Labor, Social Security and Sport; Tourism, Entertainment and Sport; and Local Government, Community Development and Sport; in addition to Women’s Affairs.

Ms. Simpson Miller has received several local and international awards and accolades, including:

  • In March 2007, she was awarded the International Olympic Committee’s World Women and Sport Trophy for outstanding dedication to women in Jamaican Sports – both athletes and administrators.
  • In 2009, she received the Distinguished Award for her dedication and commitment to urban renewal and community development from the Mayor of the City of Miami.
  • She received the Bureau of Women’s Affairs Award for outstanding contribution to the advancement of women’s affairs in Jamaica.
  • She was inducted into the International Women’s Forum (IWF) Hall of Fame in recognition of the “incredible impact that women of courage, creativity, and passion have made towards improving society, inspiring others, and building better leadership in the world.”
  • In 2012, Time Magazine named her among its “100 Most Influential Persons in the World.”

Mrs. Simpson Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Union Institute & University. She also completed the Executive Program for Leaders in Development at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2001, Prime Minister Simpson Miller was awarded Union Institute & University’s highest honor, the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters: Honoris Causa, in recognition of her achievements and commitment to transform lives and communities. She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the Northern Caribbean University, and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica.

Adults all over the world choose Union to complete their degree. Learn more about Union’s degree programs by clicking below.

Alumni Spotlight – Jennifer Ochoa

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Jennifer Ochoa

Welcome to the “Alumni Spotlight” monthly series. Learn how our Union Institute & University (UI&U) graduates are living the UI&U mission of engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment.

The spotlight is also on National Hispanic Month and Union’s commitment to diversity. During National Hispanic Month, Union is highlighting the students, staff and faculty, and alumni of Hispanic heritage with features, social media posts, and more. Union serves a 26% Hispanic adult learner population. It is the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division web page. A HIS is defined as a university where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25% of the total enrollment.

Featured this month: Jennifer Ochoa

Education: UI&U graduate of the Child & Adolescent Development

Profession: Head Start Teacher

In the Q& A below, Jennifer Ochoa, alumna and proud to be of Hispanic heritage, shares her memories of Union.

Q. What has your degree meant to you personally and professionally?

A. I wanted teaching experience and a degree where I can work with children and adults or families. I got the job that I wanted because of my degree. I always wanted to be a teacher and now I am in the profession that I love. I am also a first generation college graduate.

Q. What quality do you admire most about your alma mater?

A. I admire the teachers. They were awesome. I worked fulltime while in school and Union was accommodating and flexible with my schedule. I will always be grateful for the letter of recommendation that helped me get my job.

Q. If you could give advice to a Union student, what would it be?

A. Keep going. Don’t give up even when you don’t think you can write one more essay. Seek help from your peers and your teachers. When you doubt yourself and your ability to continue reach out and team with a friend. School is challenging but you can finish and graduate.

Q. What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?

A. I have been married for six years and we are expecting our first child in the spring. I think becoming a parent will be my greatest accomplishment.

Q. What is your passion away from work?

A. I enjoy hanging out with my husband. I like to be outdoors and at the beach. I also enjoy travelling and watching movies.

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Alumna Bridgette Mongeon Aids Harvey Victims

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Bridgette Mongeon didn’t let Hurricane Harvey and its devastation keep her down. She immediately began helping by opening a communications conduit through social media matching needs with resources.

“We are a long way from having this over. Some people still live in houses that are unsafe and debris is everywhere,” said Mongeon. “There are just not enough supplies to be able to help everyone. We need items such as packaging tape, bleach, paper towels and more in bulk. A list of the needs that we are collecting and distributing can be found at this link. Send them to us or even call us and we will find a way to get them here. They will make it to the hard hit areas by any means of transportation necessary.”

Mongeon worries about the aftermath.

“In a September 13th interview on local NBC station, the mayor of Houston ‘estimates there is eight million cubic yards of Harvey-related waste to remove.’ Much of this waste is getting more toxic by the day. They don’t have enough trucks or landfill. The streets and even ditches in front of houses are meant to water away from homes. Should more rain come with all of the waste, or worse yet another storm, I fear Houston will literally be sunk.”

Sadly, Hurricane Harvey wasn’t the first tragedy to hit the 2006 UI&U graduate’s family this year.

“My daughter lost her home and pet in a house fire in February. It has given us extra compassion and sort of ‘in the trench’ experience to help everyone else,” said Mongeon. “We are still healing from the fire. My daughter’s writing about that on a blog called Stronger Than Fire. The blog is now being shared with those who lost everything due to Harvey- after all, the loss is very similar.”

Mongeon, an artist that specializes in figurative sculpture of individuals is the owner of B. Mongeon Sculpture Design Studio said her studio suffered some casualty. “My art studio suffered some damage. A new roof is being put on the studio tomorrow. I can hardly believe I found someone. My incredible interns helped clean and dried all of the wet things for me. But this is minimal compared to the total devastation that is our area and that so many of my friends and family have suffered.”

She credits her degree from Union for accelerating her career.

“My work at Union has brought me far in my career as an artist and a writer. My book on 3D Technology in Fine Art and Craft was a number one new release on Amazon. I’m about to have the largest commission of my career installed at a park in Texas – a sculpture of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Party,” said Mongeon. “I’ll be the keynote speaker at the Texas Art Education Conference in November.”

But today isn’t a day to reflect on success.

“It is hard to focus on anything but recovery, my own and the Southern part of Texas.”

You can reach out to Mongeon on https://twitter.com/sculptorwriter or https://www.instagram.com/bridgettemongeon/

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Union Leaders – Dr. Jackie Young

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Dr. Jackie Young

Union Institute & University’s historical commitment to ethical and creative leadership and the insights gained over the past 50 years as a leader in adult learning is the inspiration for the monthly series, Union Leaders.

This month Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Young UI&U Ph.D. graduate is featured. Dr. Young is a consultant, speaker, advocate, life-long learner and volunteer on projects and issues that inspire social change and healthy communities. Currently she serves as Chair of the Hawaii State Judicial Selection Commission; member of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and a board member of ACLU Hawaii. On the national level she is a member of the U.S. Department of Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

Q. How do you define leadership?

A. There is no “one size fits all” leadership style. It depends on the organization, culture, time constraints, mission and the personalities involved. Being flexible is a key characteristic as plans change.

Basically, I view leaders as responsible for moving things forward towards a vision or a goal.

Q. Share an example of how you’ve put leadership in action.

A. When I became an elected official in 1990 the concept of Servant-Leadership (as coined by Robert Greenleaf) fit well into the role of being a community leader as the focus is on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. Listening is a key characteristic of an elected leader as is persuasion and vision leading to policy decisions that impact all.

Q. What leader do you admire most and why?

A. I admire the leadership style of Irene Natividad. She is the President of the Global Summit of Women and every year brings together women leaders from around the world. I worked with her when she was President of the National Women’s Political Caucus an organization devoted to recruiting, training and electing women in politics. I served as vice-president of the organization and saw her in action. She was well-respected and was able to move the organization forward in a volatile political environment and because of her dedication, integrity and reliability, plus that x-factor of having media charisma, brought great credibility to the organization and its mission.

Q. What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?

A. I have two favorite quotes that go hand-in-hand.

Dr. Tom Frieden, former Director of the Center for Disease Control, said that “Irrational optimism is crucial to success.” He was talking about global epidemics and cancer, but it seemed to explain my being involved in social justice causes. Of course, reality checks are also crucial to success. Then there’s President Harry Truman’s famous quote that I believe all leaders should aspire to: “You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.”

We all stand on the shoulders of others.

Q. When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?

A. When I was a teenager, I was elected president of several high school clubs. One of them, the Y-Teens, was affiliated with the YWCA statewide program. In my junior high school year I was elected President of the Y-Teen Inter Club Council. I felt very honored as the council consisted of representatives from many public and private high schools throughout the state. This required a different level of responsibility, collaboration and decision-making and exposure to new ideas and a more altruistic vision of eliminating racism.

About Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Young

Dr. Young is a consultant, speaker, advocate, life-long learner and volunteer on projects and issues that inspire social change and healthy communities.

Currently she serves as Chair of the Hawaii State Judicial Selection Commission; member of the Hawaii State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and a board member of ACLU Hawaii. On the national level she is a member of the U.S. Department of Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

In 1990 she was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives. In 1992 she served as Vice-Speaker, the first woman to hold that position. She championed issues related to Native Hawaiians, the environment and crimes against women.

In 1998, while undergoing breast cancer treatment and speaking publicly about her experience, she led the Protect Our Constitution Campaign in Hawaii, which became the nation’s first campaign for marriage equality.

She retired in 2013 as Chief Staff Officer of the American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific.

Jackie has received many awards: the President’s Award in 1994 from Union Institute & University; the National Education Association in 1999 for her work in advancing the rights of women and girls; Named an Extraordinary Woman of Hawaii from the Women’s History Project; Woman Leader Award from the YWCA; ACLU Leadership Award in 1999 for her work in social justice issues; the Light of the Orient Award for her work in the Korean Community after the Los Angeles Riots. In 2014 she received Punahou High School’s Alumni Award for Humanitarian Service, and in 2016 she was named a University of Hawaii Distinguished Alumni.

In addition to her 1989 Ph.D. in Women’s Studies from Union, she holds a B.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from the University of Hawaii and a Master’s in Speech and Special Education from Old Dominion University.

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Alumni Spotlight – Kenneth Smith, MS, MA, LPC

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Kenneth Smith

Welcome to the “Alumni Spotlight” monthly series. Learn how our Union Institute & University (UI&U) graduates are living the UI&U mission of engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment.

Featured this month: Kenneth Smith

Education: UI&U graduate of the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.

Profession: Ken is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has been approved by the State of Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. He is in practice at the Spirit of Peace Clinical Counseling in Columbus, Ohio. Ken is a member of the American Counseling Association and the Ohio Counseling Association.

In addition to his UI&U M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, he also holds a Master of Science focused on behavioral and experimental psychology, a B.S. Agr. in Animal Science and a B.A. in History from The Ohio State University. His prior work experience includes review and assessment for over 350 businesses in 45 states and three Canadian provinces. Ken’s prior M.S. work focused primarily on pain and stress. His M.A. work focuses on treating shame and guilt in psychological and personality issues.

He was recently published in the September 2017 issue of Counseling Today on Understanding Adult Autism.

Q. What has your degree meant to you personally and professionally?

A. My degree has allowed me to pursue a career that I am finding rewarding. Additionally, the work done at Union allows me to excel in the counseling field by allowing the work I did there to inform my practice and find a counseling home at Spirit of Peace Clinical Counseling in Columbus Ohio.

Q. What quality do you admire most about your alma mater?

A. There are two qualities I admire most about Union. The first is the flexibility of the courses, which allowed me to work while getting my degree. Second, the program at Union really does respect thought, religious, and intellectual diversity, a feature that based on my observations is greatly lacking in many other academic counseling programs.

Q. If you could give advice to a Union student, what would it be?

A. Make sure your research follows a common theme in all your classes, so to make a robust capstone paper!

Q. What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?

A. Being published in the September 2017 issue of Counseling Today on Understanding Adult Autism (or as I wanted to title it Understanding Personality Features of Autism, Asperger’s, and Nerds (PFANNs)).

Q. What is your passion away from work?

A. My first passion is understanding, learning about, and living the Catholic faith. Other interests include cooking, gardening, theater, travel, philosophy, animal behavior, and slaughterhouses/food production.

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Union Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

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Union Institute & University is recognizing National Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 – October 15, 2017 by highlighting the university’s commitment to diversity.

“Diversity of thought and academic pursuits are the cornerstones of Union’s mission. Each individual is valued for who he or she is as a person,” said Dr. Nelson Soto, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Union Institute & University.

Union serves a 26% Hispanic adult learner population. It is the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division web page. A  HIS is defined as a university where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25% of the total enrollment.

In addition, Union is active in Hispanic Chamber of Commerce associations across the nation.

“Union is a beacon of light for adults to further their education,” said Dr. Soto. “Very few places of higher education offer the scholar-practitioner model of academics and real world application. Our curriculum interweaves social connectedness to identify solutions to difficult questions. Union’s faculty is the underpinning of social justice,” said Dr. Soto.

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, Union will highlight the students, staff and faculty of Hispanic heritage with features, social media posts, and more. In addition, Hispanic Heritage Month posters have been placed at all five academic centers in celebration of the month.

National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402. The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. (Source National Heritage Month)

Be part of Union’s commitment to diversity!