Theresa Barron-McKeagney, who works in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, speaks during Bellevue University’s Hispanic Heritage Month luncheon at the Administrative Services Building.

Bellevue University hosted its first celebration last Thursday in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Visitors to BU enjoyed a Puerto Rican lunch and heard from Theresa Barron-McKeagney, associate dean of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, speak about her successes and her culture.

Hispanic Heritage Month runs through Oct. 15, and the month is special to Gina Ponce, director of Latino Community Outreach at Bellevue University.

Ponce said she wanted to hold an event to educate people about Hispanic Heritage Month.

“All other institutions usually have a celebration around one of the Latino holidays, and I decided we needed to jump on the bandwagon,” she said.

“We have a lot of other Latino holidays, but they’re very cultural-specific. This covers all Latino cultures.”

Ponce invited Barron-McKeagney because they’ve known each other for more than 20 years.

“She’s a really good friend and mentor of mine,” Ponce said.

Barron-McKeagney, who has written several dissertations on Latinos and diversity, spoke about her greatest influences — her mother, father and siblings — and how her culture shaped her.

“Never forget where you come from,” Barron-McKeagney said in her speech.

Ponce said the event and month-long celebration means a lot to her and her culture.

“It’s important for people to get educated in all different types of cultures,” she said.

Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.