Penn State Berks celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Actor JW Cortés to deliver keynote address
JW Cortes

Cortés, an actor who portrays ‘Detective Alvarez’ on the hit TV show "Gotham," will give the keynote address for Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 15.

Credit: Martin Chavez Photography, 2018

WYOMISSING, Pa. — Beginning in mid-September, Penn State Berks will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of events; each event is intended for a specific audience, including prospective and current students, the campus community, and the general public. Some events will be held in-person and others will have virtual options. 

Charlas con Chocolates   

  • 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 14, 2022 — Nov. 16, 2022
  • Franco Building, Room 102

Penn State Berks students, faculty and staff are invited to this weekly gathering to enjoy cultural conversations and word games in Spanish while sampling chocolates of the Americas. 

Hispanic Heritage Month Opening Celebration
Keynote Address by JW Cortés

  • 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022
  • Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Cortés, an actor who portrays ‘Detective Alvarez’ on the hit TV show "Gotham," travels through the country, delivering high-impact presentations in which he describes his personal journey, starting on the stoops of Brooklyn, passing through the deserts of the Middle East, and landing on movie screens worldwide. In addition to being an actor, Cortés is a veteran combat Marine, speaker, businessman, and law enforcement professional, This  event is open to the general public and tickets are free but participants must register in advance at: 

This event is supported by the Howard O. and Jean Beaver Endowment for Guest Lecturers at Berks Campus, the Student Initiated Fee, and the Office of Continuing Education.

Latin Fest

  • 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19
  • Perkins Multipurpose Room

An annual event celebrating Latin heritage, Latin Fest is free and open to students, faculty, staff and the general public. With the theme of “one language; many cultures,” the event will include live performances and other presentations, followed by a taste of Latin cuisine. 

This event is sponsored by the Penn State Berks Diversity Committee. For more information, contact Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez at [email protected] or 610-396-6080. 

Latino Forum

  • 9:30–11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14
  • Perkins Student Center Auditorium (live stream available) 

The tenth annual Penn State Berks Latino Forum is a free event for students from all Berks County high schools, as well as members of the local Latino community. This year’s event will feature keynote speaker Javier Ávila, who will present a one-man show titled "The Perfect Latino." Ávila offers a close examination of the American-Latino experience, taking the audience on a journey as he moves between cultures, navigating a world of misunderstandings and misconceptions. Ávila provides a fascinating perspective on what it means to balance assimilation with cultural preservation. The keynote will be followed by tours of the campus.

The mission of the Latino Forum is to empower Latino students to pursue higher education. The forum provides inspiration and motivation for students as they learn that higher education is both desirable and attainable. Registration is required for both the in-person and virtual event. Attendees can register at A Zoom link will be sent via emails to those who are attending virtually.

This event is supported by the Penn State Humanities Institute, the Berks Campus Arts and Cultural Fund, and the Arts and Lectures Series.

Day of the Dead Celebration

  • 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 2
  • Perkins Student Center Multipurpose Room

This free event is open to Penn State Berks students, faculty and staff, as well as the general public. Penn State Berks will celebrate the rich Mexican traditions of Day of the Dead with an illustrated talk and refreshments traditionally served during this holiday. 

Spanish Program Social

  • 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26
  • Franco Building, room 102  

Students enrolled in the Penn State Berks Spanish minor and / or the Certificate in Spanish for Healthcare are invited to this event to learn more about the program and Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. 

Bilingual Story Telling

  • 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3
  • Lauer’s Park Elementary School

Penn State Berks faculty and students will present virtual bilingual readings of traditional stories for local elementary schools. This is not a public event.

For additional information on these events, contact Donna Chambers, assistant teaching professor of Spanish, at 610-396-6332 or via email at [email protected].





Donna Chambers

Lecturer in Spanish at Penn State Berks

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