A new lecture series at Fresno Pacific University offers the public, students, faculty, administration and staff tools to succeed in a diverse world.

The ALAS Lecture Series comprises six public events and a series of related student activities. ALAS is Spanish for “wings” and stands for Advancing Latino Academic Success.

Speakers will present on subjects such as education, history and art in public sessions, and meet with students for more informal talks. Funding comes from a five-year, $2.36 million U.S. Department of Education grant to encourage Hispanic and low-income students to enroll in and graduate from FPU, which began in the fall of 2015.

The grant also financed the ALAS Multicultural Learning Center, located in Steinert Campus Center on the main campus, as well as efforts to broaden cultural content in new and existing courses and, in the fourth year, a minor in Latin American studies. More about the grant

The objective of the grant in general and the series in particular is student retention and graduation. “The goal is to try to provide skills and tools to facilitate diversity and the changes in society,” said Francisco De Canto Viterale, Ph.D., ALAS Title V project coordinator. “The final goal of everything is students,” said Gina Ponce de León, Ph.D., ALAS program director and associate professor of Spanish.

Public lectures

  • “Education and Racial Identity: Textbooks and Blackness in the Dominican Republic," Sheridan Wigginton, Ph.D., California Lutheran University, 12:00 p.m. Friday, January 20, 2017, Steinert Campus Center. (In partnership with the FPU Provost’s Office.)

  • “The Latin American Reformation, 1917-2017,” Todd Hartch, Ph.D., Eastern Kentucky University, 12:00 p.m. Thursday, February 23, 2017, Steinert Campus Center. (In partnership with the FPU History Department and the School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences.)

  • “The Prophet of Cuernavaca: Ivan Illich and the Crisis of the West,” Todd Hartch, Ph.D., Eastern Kentucky University, 7:00 p.m. Thursday, February 23, 2017, BC Lounge. (In partnership with the FPU History Department and the School of Humanities, Religion and Social Sciences.)

  • “Relationship Between Ethnic Nationalist Groups and Catholicism and Protestantism in the 60s and 70s,” Felipe Hinojosa, Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 12:45 p.m. Thursday, March 16, 2017, Wiebe Educational Center.

  • “Latin American Art in the U.S.A.: East Coast West Coast Visual Artists of the 20th Century,” Lillian Mendez-Marzinek, Niagra University, 12:40 p.m. Thursday, April 6, 2017, Steinert Campus Center.

All events are free of charge and take place on the main FPU campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno. For more information, contact Ponce de Leon at alas.coordinator@fresno.edu or 559-453-7183.