Sunday afternoon, the University of Missouri–St. Louis welcomed more than 100 prospective students and parents to Día Familiar at the the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.
The event was an open house for Hispanic families to learn more about the university and to help them start preparing for college.
The day included bilingual information sessions and tours, opening remarks from Chancellor Kristin Sobolik and Provost and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Steven Berberich, a presentation by Honors College Dean Ed Munn Sanchez and psychology student Andrea Palacios Calderon and a performance by folk dance ensemble Grupo Atlántico.
Munn said the open house was a success, and he was happy the university was able to hold it in person after two years of digital events due to COVID-19 precautions.
“This is sort of a restart of the of the momentum we had three years ago,” he said. “Moving into the Touhill just made a significant difference. That was just a very good venue for that event.”
He also credited the hard work of the Spanish-speaking faculty and staff members and volunteers who made the successful in-person event possible.
College of Arts and Sciences Dean Andrew Kersten concurred, saying attendees were engaged and very interested in learning more about the university. There was also significant participation from community and university organizations such as the Catholic Newman Center, the Hispanic Leaders Group, Pfizer, Student Financial Services and various academic units. Each group helmed a table where prospective students could learn more about academics, extracurricular activities, financial aid and internships.
Munn Sanchez noted that the Hispanic population is a growing demographic in the St. Louis region and the goal was to reach out and create ties to the community.
“It’s a group where there’s real expectation of growth,” he said. “This is part of our inclusive excellence at the university. We want to recruit from all the different groups of populations, all the groups in St. Louis, and certainly an outreach to the Latino community is a piece of that.”
He added that events such as Día Familiar are central to the university’s values and mission.
“Emphasizing the importance of inclusive excellence and the importance of an urban university like ours, reaching out to all the communities that are there around us, I think that’s really the heart of this,” Munn Sanchez said.