March 28, 2000 Geneva, NY – The Latin American Organization (LAO) at Hobart and William Smith Colleges extends an invitation to the community to attend their annual Cultural Extravaganza that will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, in the Bristol gym on the Colleges' campus. This year, the student group is thrilled to announce that Maria Echaveste, deputy chief of staff at the White House, has agreed to attend the celebration as the keynote speaker, as the theme of the celebration is Voces de Mujeres or Latinos contribution to America. (Ticket information is listed below.)
As one of the highest-ranking Latino women in government today, Echaveste is responsible for national government disaster relief programs, outreach efforts to minority groups, and immigration issues.
She graduated from Stanford University in 1976 and went on to the University of California at Berkeley, where she earned her law degree in 1980. Echaveste is the daughter of migrant farm workers from Mexico and the eldest of seven siblings. When she was a child, her family moved across the country, and her parents made a living picking strawberries and other crops.
Echaveste left private-practice law to serve as Latino coordinator for President Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. She later took a job at the Labor Department as administrator of its Wage and Hour Division. She moved into the White House in 1997 as the Public Liaison director and was promoted to her current post in summer 1998.
The Cultural Extravaganza will be held from 5:30 until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, and will also feature the Latin dance group Cultural Explosion Incorporated, student presentations of poetry and dance, and an award ceremony to pay tribute to Hispanic alums and Central New York community members. Dinner will begin at 7 p.m. and Ms. Echaveste is expected to begin her talk at 8 p.m. The event is limited to 300 people and tickets are $7 for HWS students and $10 for all others. They are available on a first-come basis at The College Store on St. Clair Street or at the Office of Student Life and Leadership in Scandling Center on Pulteney Street.
Founded in 1984, LAO is a group of diverse Hobart and William Smith students who strive to diversify campus and to raise awareness of Latino issues. LAO has created numerous events to highlight the achievements of the Latino community and to celebrate Latino culture through music, food, and showcasing their heroes.