Julian Samora Professor of Latino Studies and Notre Dame Professor of American Literature, Director of the Institute for Latino Studies
After a long and successful career in Latino studies at the University of Texas at Austin, I joined the Notre Dame faculty as a professor of American literature and then became director of our Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) with great excitement.
Notre Dame offers the next frontier in Latino studies, the opportunity to help form a truly national, not just regional, cohort of young people—Latinos and non-Latinos—who will be educated based on the most advanced knowledge of the growing Latino populations in the United States. I envision these students as future leaders of and within such populations who will provide that leadership in a manner consistent with Notre Dame's well-established commitment to social concerns based on its Catholic principles.
This ambitious goal is attainable thanks not only to the talents of the students themselves but also the resources with which we can provide them. The headquarters of the Inter-University Program for Latino Research, ILS is a new kind of institute, interdisciplinary in its focus, central to the University’s mission, and home to scholarship of the highest order.
When I was a little boy attending little Catholic schools in south Texas, my mother often said: “Quiero que algún día vayas a Notre Dame” [“I want you someday to go to Notre Dame”], even though she didn’t have the slightest idea where it was except somewhere in “el norte.”
Today, I am truly honored to be providing my leadership to the University’s Institute for Latino Studies at this critical juncture in the history of Latinos in the United States.