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Jose Perez L’07 and Luis Columna Honored at Fiesta Latina
Each year during Latino Hispanic Heritage Month (LHHM), the University hosts Fiesta Latina, a celebration of Latino culture that features Latino cuisine, live music and dancing. The event also includes the presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Excellence Award and Trailblazer Award to two distinguished community members. This year’s honorees were Jose E. Perez, Esq., and Luis Columna, Ph.D.
“Jose and Luis exemplify what it means to give back to communities and pave the way for younger generations,” said Angela Morales-Patterson, assistant director in the Office of Program Development and co-chair of the LHHM Planning Committee. “We are pleased to present them with these well-deserved honors.”
Distinguished Alumni Excellence Award – Jose E. Perez, Esq.
Perez was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Excellence Award, an award given in recognition of an alum who is committed to advancing the values and goals of Syracuse University’s Latino students, as well as their dedication in enhancing individuals around them. Perez is a 2007 alumnus of Syracuse University College of Law where he graduated cum laude. During his law school career, Perez clerked for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
In 2012, he opened the Law Offices of Jose Perez, where he has experience in many areas of litigation, including construction, labor, employment, premises liability, motor vehicle accidents, workers’ compensation, SSI/SSD and immigration. He is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey and Venezuela. He has been recognized for his practice in Venezuela by the Miranda State Bar Association, authors a Know Your Rights column in the CNY Latino newspaper and received numerous awards, including the Super Lawyers Upstate New York Rising Star.
Trailblazer Award – Luis Columna, Ph.D.
Luis Columna was awarded the Trailblazer Award, an award given in recognition of exemplary leadership, selfless acts and dedication to the Latino community of Syracuse University and local community. Columna is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is an associate professor in the Exercise Science Department in the School of Education. Columna’s research and service activities have focused on improving physical activity opportunities for children with disabilities, particularly in Hispanic families.
His work with the Syracuse University Fit Families Program and his work related to the promotion of physical activity among families of children with disabilities, addresses an important need in the field and in the Syracuse community. In addition to his work at Syracuse University, Columna is the first Hispanic to be chair-elect for the Adapted Physical Activity Council and served on several diversity committees at the national Level.
LHHM is one of four celebratory months coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The concluding events for the month are listed on the Office of Multicultural Affairs website. Upcoming heritage months include Native Heritage Month (November 2017), Black History Month (February 2018) and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (April 2018).