Director's Letter of Greeting

Luis Fraga Newsnd

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

I am privileged to have served as the Director of the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) for the last five years. In that time, I have come to fully appreciate how ILS enriches the intellectual lives of faculty, students, staff, and alumni at Notre Dame.

ILS focuses on better understanding the lives, both successes and challenges, of Latinx origin communities in the U.S. We examine issues related to immigration, politics, education, ministry, language, literature, poetry, art, leadership, education and other areas. Research, teaching, and service in these areas help Notre Dame be at the forefront of posing the hard questions about our growing multicultural democracy and how to address the many challenges that building an inclusive multicultural democracy in the U.S. still pose.

Established in 1999, ILS now has 33 affiliated Faculty Fellows, 72 supplemental majors and minors, offers approximately 20 cross-listed classes, and enrolls an estimated 500 students each semester. Our courses are primarily in the humanities and social sciences although we are beginning to branch out to other colleges at the University as well.

We offer funding to our faculty for academic conferences, speakers, and research grants. We also use our resources to co-sponsor many initiatives of a diverse set of groups on campus. We are the initiator of the formal celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month at Notre Dame. We sponsor the Transformative Latina/o/x Lecture Series that brings prominent national speakers to campus. We also sponsor a Latino Studies Seminar where faculty share their current research with an interdisciplinary group of scholars.

Moreover, we hold a Young Scholars Symposium ever year where the strongest emerging scholars in a special area of Latino studies have the chance to have their working essays reviewed by fellow participants and a senior invited scholar.We are also proud that this August 2022 we welcomed the sixth class of students to receive our generous scholarship though the Latino Studies Scholars Program (LSSP). This scholarship is funded through a growing endowment to which many of our Advisory Council Members have contributed.

Students who have proven themselves as leaders working on behalf of Latino communities, regardless of their own ethnoracial background or their family income, receive this merit-based scholarship to continue working and studying how to empower Latino communities as they pursue any major that they want at ND. Our sixth class included ten students. Just as important as all of the scholarly initiatives is that we work to build a community and family of scholars at all levels with interests in Latino studies. We think it important that intellectual communities be built to support members of our Notre Dame family.

We are planning a major celebration of our successes in 2024 on our 25th anniversary.

Luis Ricardo Fraga
Rev. Donald P. McNeill, C.S.C., Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership
Joseph and Elizabeth Robbie Professor of Political Science
Director, Institute for Latino Studies
University of Notre Dame