El Centro Turns 50

November 5, 2018 - Dorene DiNaro

El Centro 50th logo2018.  The year that UNM El Centro de la Raza celebrates 50Años de Excelencia y Justicia Social—fifty years of providing support services and academic programs for the largest and fastest growing ethnic population at The University of New Mexico.

 Rosa Isela Cervantes, director for UNM El Centro de la Raza, says that this year’s  Años de Excelencia y Justicia Social theme represents the affirmation that El Centro continues to strive for equity and inclusion for UNM students and community.

 The yearlong celebration, which kicked off on September 17 with an event featuring speakers from every decade of El Centro talking about their evolution, also hosted the installation of a new 50th anniversary logo that was created by Olivia Rosa Luján.

 Currently housed in the Division of Student Affairs, El Centro began in 1969 under the umbrella of Chicano Studies and later separated to better serve the needs of the Latino/Hispano population on our campus. 

 According to Cervantes, since El Centro de la Raza was founded, thousands of students have been transformed by their interactions with the Center’s staff and other students determined to succeed at UNM.  Cervantes, herself, was one of those students and credits both El Centro’s services, and UNM’s vision to increase accessibility, for providing her with the education and skills to serve the New Mexican community.


El Centro’s services are focused on student advocacy and educating the campus community on the diverse issues that affect Latino students either currently enrolled or planning to enroll at UNM, however, their services are offered to all UNM students.


Leroy C. Martinez, Jr. a UNM senior majoring in athletic training and vice president of UNM’s Athletic Training Student Association, is honored to be a part of the El Centro community and says that the Center goes ‘above and beyond’ to serve students and community through continual advocacy.

 “The past 50 years have laid the foundation for future endeavors, and I cannot wait to see how El Centro will continue to grow and serve the various communities that benefit from our services,” Martinez says.  “I am honored to have been a small part of the process and to call El Centro my home."

 And according to Cervantes, students will be continue to be celebrated not only this year but for many years to come.  “We continue to recognize their intersectionality and all that these students bring to UNM,” she says.  “We continue to celebrate familia y comunidad!"