Senator Robert Menendez Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month at Saint Peter’s College

On Sunday, September 26, Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s College, welcomed U.S. Senator and Saint Peter’s alumnus Robert Menendez ’76 to the College’s Jersey City campus where, to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, Menendez hosted a program and reception for nearly 450 guests to honor the accomplishments of Hispanics in the state and the nation.

In his welcoming address, President Cornacchia discussed the ways the College demonstrates its dedication to the Hispanic community, pointing out that Saint Peter’s is a federally designated Hispanic-Serving institution, a designation that recognizes the College’s efforts to expand educational opportunities available for students of Hispanic descent. In fact, Saint Peter’s is the only private college in New Jersey to hold this status. He also highlighted the College’s Latin American/Latino studies major and minor programs as well as the College’s Latin American Service Organization. President Cornacchia thanked Senator Menendez for his “personal interest in our students and for helping them to achieve their dreams.”

On hand to lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance was Ismael Cid Martinez, an alumnus from the class of 2009, and recipient of the prestigious Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellowship.

In his remarks, Menendez highlighted the many great accomplishments of Hispanics that hailed from New Jersey and from across the nation and challenged the audience to help him in his quest to “answer the call to service and to answer the call to action.” He also announced the launch of the Latino Leadership Link Series, a series of forums to be held throughout New Jersey in 2011 that will help to keep the community informed and engaged in the growth and progress of Hispanics in the state and the country.

Additional distinguished guests included Lillian Rodriguez Lopez, the president of the Hispanic Federation, a non-profit membership organization serving close to 100 Latino health and human service agencies in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, New Jersey State Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, and U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez, who served as the keynote speaker for the evening. 

A reception following the program featured live music and dancing performances.