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NMSU alumnus, author to speak to students about the New Mexico Hispanic family experience

What does it mean to be Hispanic in the Southwest? Author and New Mexico State University distinguished alumnus Jose N. Uranga will speak to students in various classes on campus Oct. 25-28 about the subject of his two novels. The most recent, "The Death of the Brown Americano," documents the life of one Hispanic family living in the territory of New Mexico between 1850 and 1913.

Jose N. Uranga, an NMSU alumnus and author, will speak about the Hispanic Experience Oct. 25-28, as part of the 10-year anniversary celebration of NMSU's CAMP program. (Submitted photo)

Uranga is a native New Mexican who graduated from NMSU in 1969. He earned a J.D. degree from Georgetown University and a master's degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is the author of two historical fiction books that depict the lives of Hispanics who settled in the American Southwest.

Uranga's presentations are part of the 10-year anniversary of NMSU's College Assistance Migrant Program and sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.

"We are very fortunate to have Josť Uranga here in Las Cruces to share with our students what he has learned through writing two novels about the experience of generations of Hispanics in New Mexico," said Christa Slaton, dean of the Arts and Sciences College. "We believe his talks will inspire our students and engage them in conversations about issues of diversity in our Southwest culture."

His first novel, "The Buenavida Dilemma: Whether To Become 'Gringos,'" was published in 2003. It sheds light on segregated schools, employment discrimination, English-only laws and police brutality through the life experiences of five generations of the Buenavida family.

"The Death of the Brown Americano," a 2010 Foreword Book of the Year finalist, follows on The Buenavida Dilemma and examines the Buenavida family's experiences as it struggles to survive and adapt to a new country while preserving its cultural values in the early 20th century.

In addition to his classroom lectures for government and English classes, Uranga will attend a reception from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, in the Corbett Center Auditorium. He will discuss his novels with NMSU CAMP students and talk about his education and professional path beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Uranga, a retired environmental attorney, serves as a board director for the NMSU Foundation, a secretary and board director for the Suncoast Porsche Club, and a secretary and board trustee for the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast.

Moreover, he serves as a guardian ad litem in the Florida courts, where he looks out for abandoned and abused children. He also volunteers as a docent at Ringling Art Museums. He lives in Sarasota, Fla.

The reception is free and open to the public. A parking permit for off-campus visitors may be obtained at https://corridor.nmsu.edu/auxadmin/ParkingForms/epermit.aspx. For more information, contact Ken Van Winkle at 575-646-2003.