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December 09, 2002

Serna Center established at CSUS

California State University, Sacramento has created a new research and cultural center focused on Latino issues. The Serna Center - named in honor of the late Joe Serna Jr. and Isabel Hernandez-Serna - will formally open in spring in the University Library next to the Multi-Cultural Center.

The center will promote research on Latinos in the Sacramento Region, and sponsor lectures, conferences and other special events.

"The Serna Center will be studying the new California, the increasingly diverse California," says Joseph Sheley, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. "The changes you now see occurring in California, you'll soon see in the rest of the country. We think that it is important to understand those changes and to help shape responses to them. At the state's Capital University, we have an excellent opportunity to do that."

The center will be directed by David Leon, who heads the University's Chicano studies program and is a professor in the ethnic studies department.

Leon says that while the center's mission is to study Latinos, it will welcome people from all backgrounds and scholars from many disciplines. Areas of possible study include art, politics, health and education.

Leon's first goals include creating an undergraduate internship program for studying Latino issues and starting a community leadership program for CSUS students from all backgrounds.

"We want to provide training so students can go out and be leaders in their community when they graduate," Leon says. "That's important for our communities, and it is a good reflection of the values held by Joe and Isabel."

Discussions about the new center began during the University's "Year of Unity" in 2000. Its naming honors Joe Serna Jr., a longtime CSUS professor and Sacramento mayor who passed away in 1999, and his wife Isabel Hernandez-Serna, a longtime CSUS professor and administrator who passed away in 2000.

More information is available by contacting David Leon at (916) 278-6344.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
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