Hispanic Heritage Month


UC Alumni Association Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

The UC Alumni Association proudly joins with our Hispanic and Latino Bearcats to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. The full UC success story cannot be told, and would not be so inspiring, without the great contributions of our Hispanic and Latino alumni and students.

The worldwide Hispanic and Latino community includes 20 Spanish-speaking countries as well as such people living elsewhere. UC’s Hispanic Heritage story is particularly compelling — from a Cuban refugee who has helped transform the arts at UC, to a Mexican immigrant who is examining the laws that impact migrant children. They are part of UC’s rich tradition of Hispanic alumni achievement, and there’s a lot more to come: The university shows a 21% increase in Hispanic students in the 2022 freshman class, year over year.

This Hispanic Heritage Month, we call on alumni and friends to support the Rafael Rennella Memorial Scholarship. Rafael arrived in the U.S. from Argentina in 1979, became a student leader at UC, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering in 1994. He founded the Hispanic Engineers group at the university, devoted himself to the Emerging Ethnic Engineers program, and helped found Latinos en Acción (now Latinx en Acción, or LEA). An asthma attack just a year after graduation cut short Rafael’s life at age 26. To honor him, the scholarship fund was created by students, staff, faculty, alumni and his fellow Procter & Gamble employees. The scholarship rewards students for their leadership, passion and dedication in serving UC and the Greater Cincinnati Latino community. 

Hispanic Heritage Month Events

Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff Happy Hour
Friday, Sept. 16

Come out and celebrate the kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month with us on Friday, September 16. We will be at Cantina Agave, a Mexican-inspired restaurant owned by UC alumnus Emilio Santos, DAAP '17, is located in the heart of the Northside community.

UCLAN: Con-e-ctado!
Wednesday, Sept. 21

The UC Latino Alumni Network (UCLAN) presents "¡Con-e-ctado!", a virtual town hall event for Latino alumni, students and others, with updates on the current environment for current students and graduates.

Dia de los Muertos skull painting

Dia de los Muertos Paint Party
Tuesday, Oct. 18

Join UCLAN as we partner with Soul Palette, LLC for a virtual private paint party experience! You'll have fun and learn to express yourself in a new and exciting way, channeling your "inner artist." You will be provided with a customized, Latino-inspired image to paint. This experience will celebrate Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated in Mexico and other Catholic celebrations.

Snapshots of Hispanic UC Excellence

These Bearcats constitute just a few of the countless alumni who continue to collectively write the Hispanic UC success story.

Rafael de Acha, CCM ’70

Rafael de Acha, CCM ’70, arrived in the U.S. as a Cuban refugee in 1961. After attending CCM for opera and graduating in 1970, he has become an acclaimed theater director and producer for more than 30 years.

Judge Marilyn Zayas, Law ’97

Judge Marilyn Zayas, Law ’97, became the first Latina to sit on Ohio’s Supreme Court in 2018.

Yulia Martinez

Yulia Martinez, CEAS '23, is UC's current Student Body Vice President and first Latina UC Homecoming Queen.

Maria Bobrowski-Artola, A&S ’22

Maria Bobrowski-Artola, A&S ’22, was a recipient of the 2022 Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence.

Emilio Santos

Emilio Santos, DAAP ’17, is the owner of Cantina Agave restaurant in Cincinnati's Northside community. Photo/Paisley Stone via Cincinnati Magazine

Further action is required to make this image accessible

One of the below criteria must be satisfied:

  • Add image alt tag OR
  • Mark image as decorative

The image will not display on the live site until the issue above is resolved.

Nominate a Bearcat

Nominate a Bearcat alumnus for a future heritage or awareness month alumni spotlight.


UCLAN is an affinity group focusing on the Latino alumni experience. If you identify as Latino or Hispanic, you’re already considered part of the network — all you need to do is get involved! 

The UC Alumni Association exists to serve the University of Cincinnati and its 332,000+ alumni across the United States and throughout the world. Learn more about how to stay connected with your alma mater and get involved in more than 50 college-, interest- and location-based alumni networks, including the UC Latino Alumni Network.