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Alumni

Heritage and Service

January-February 2011

CAUSA crystallized in 1994 when Cesar Conde ’95 and Carlos Zumpano ’96 bumped into each other in the Yard and discovered they’d had the same idea: Cuban-American students at the College needed a core around which to focus their joy in celebrating and sharing their heritage, and their efforts to promote a free and democratic Cuba. Since then, the Cuban-American Undergraduate Student Association at Harvard (www.harvardcausa.org) has been a model for similar groups at other universities and has reached out to Cuban Americans in the graduate schools and to alumni. 

On October 1-3, CAUSA’s current members, led by co-presidents Daniel Balmori ’11 and David Garcia ’11, convened the group’s first alumni conference: to foster new avenues for service and activism and build bridges across generations. “A Community of Experiences” combined the serious--including talks by former Miami mayor Manny Diaz, a fellow at the Institute of Politics; Modesto A. Maidique, president emeritus of Florida International University, a visiting professor at the Business School; and Jorge I. Domínguez, vice provost for international affairs and Madero professor of Mexican and Latin American politics and economics--with breaks for networking, Cuban fare, and an evening of dominoes, music, and dancing. 

CAUSA’s mission statement calls for “passionately promoting” its goals; the gathering reflected that. Alumni stressed the duty, and satisfaction, of sharing the benefits of a good education. Conde (now president and chief operating officer of Univision Networks) and Zumpano described their projects to help low-income Hispanic youths; Suzanne Besu ’01 told of home visits to persuade protective Cuban-American parents to send their high-achieving children to cold and distant Cambridge. The undergraduates proved their passion in mounting the conference. Their hard work, said Teresita Alvarez-Bjelland ’76, M.B.A. ’79, the Harvard Alumni Association’s first Hispanic president, left her feeling “invigorated, inspired, touched, proud, and hopeful.”

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William Monroe Trotter (first row, fifth from right) with other leaders of the Liberty League, circa 1918

Click on arrow at right to see full image
At a gathering, circa 1918, of leaders of the Liberty League, Trotter sits in the first row (fifth from right).

Photograph courtesy of the Hubert Harrison Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library

William Monroe Trotter

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William Monroe Trotter (first row, fifth from right) with other leaders of the Liberty League, circa 1918

Click on arrow at right to see full image
At a gathering, circa 1918, of leaders of the Liberty League, Trotter sits in the first row (fifth from right).

Photograph courtesy of the Hubert Harrison Papers, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library

William Monroe Trotter