La Casa Latina Receives Largest Donation in History

Author: Cecilia Ramirez, C’05, SP2’10

If you graduated before 1998, you may not be familiar with La Casa Latina: The Center for Hispanic Excellence, the University of Pennsylvania’s only cultural resource center focused on Latino students and interests. To many Latino Penn alumni, however, we remember La Casa Latina fondly; a source of food, a group of shoulders to cry on, a great spot for naps, a team of life coaches, a designated homework (and procrastination) hub and, of course, a home away from home while at Penn. Being one of these former (and current) residents of this special casita, I was especially delighted to hear that an alumna recognized the vital importance of this center and made a generous donation. The Association of Latino Alumni will be featuring this story in its upcoming newsletter but I wanted to give you a sneak peak at the big news here:

Johnny Irizarry, Director of La Casa Latina

This past spring, The Center for Hispanic Excellence received a gift commitment of $20,000, its largest donation in history! Ruth Colp-Haber C’81, WG’85 (pictured below) is the generous donor and decided to contribute because of her strong connection to the Latino community and after an inspiring visit to La Casa.  Ruth explains her motivation:

I feel forever indebted to Penn for many reasons but perhaps the most important was mastering Spanish after studying abroad in Seville, Spain during my junior year.  These language skills enabled my husband and I to go to Colombia, South America to adopt our daughter, Carly.  Everyone in Colombia was impressed with my Spanish banter and my desire to raise a bilingual daughter.  Both Carly and I are now fluent Spanish speakers.

Ruth Colp-Haber, C’81, WG’85 and her family

I love the Spanish language, culture and people and wanted to do something to help promote these causes at Penn while also assisting deserving students.  Thus, a gift to La Casa Latina seemed very worthwhile.  Now that my daughter is 14 years old, I look forward with excitement to the possibility of her attending Penn and spending time with the wonderful students at La Casa Latina.

Johnny Irizarry, the Director of La Casa Latina expresses his excitement over this announcement, “The students, staff and advisory board members of La Casa Latina are extremely honored by the generous investment made by Ms. Ruth Colp-Haber in support of our programs and services. It is inspiring to receive such a donation from a Penn Alumna. It affirms the value of our role in furthering the University’s commitment to diversity.”

This is truly a historic donation and it cannot stop there! I hope Ruth’s generosity will inspire even more people to give towards such a remarkable place like La Casa.

Congratulations, La Casa Latina!

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Cecilia R., Multicultural Outreach

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