On December 1995, Central Connecticut State University opened a Center for Caribbean Studies with the expectation of attracting more students of Caribbean heritage to the University and helping it attain an increasingly diverse student population. CCSU Professor Ronald Fernandez was the center’s founder and Director.
The Center, supported by a $75,000 start-up grant from the state of CT., promoted student and faculty exchanges with Puerto Rico, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands; sponsored cultural activities; and strengthened ties between students of Caribbean heritage and community groups until 2004.
In 2009, The Center’s Advisory Board began a comprehensive review of the Center’s name and mission, and decided to develop new ones that more closely reflect what the Center has become. The Center evolved from an academic center to a student resource center and was renamed as the Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Center to more completely encompass the various regions represented by the University’s Hispanic and Latino/a student population.
The Center, housed in DiLoreto 103, has a variety of research materials such as video documentaries, books, and newspapers that document the history and culture of the Caribbean.
One wall of the Center is covered by a mural titled “Roots of the Caribbean”, which was painted by Jorge Luis Morales Torres, a native of Puerto Rico. Morales created the mural in CCSU’s Art Building, and often worked with his family by his side.
The young girl in dreads depicted on the far right in the mural, is actually the artist’s daughter. Morales was a graduate student in the M.S. Art Education program when he completed his masterpiece.
The mural depicts the heritage and culture of the Caribbean people. The idea was to paint a scene that celebrated the Caribbean, and welcomed students and the general public to the Center and to the University.
One of our special intents in creating the mural was to underline the spectacular colors that characterize the Caribbean, its remarkable intellectuals, artists, and its cultures.