Dr. Tim Faltyn and Valentina Allen

Nov 5, 2021

Panhandle State Communications

El Centro Hosts Grand Opening Event

Oklahoma Panhandle State University hosted the grand opening of their Hispanic Student Center, El Centro, on Thursday, October 28, 2021. The event featured catering by local favorite Hispanic restaurant La Hacienda, free El Centro t-shirts and lapel pins, and a live play by professional company Core Ensemble. The event drew nearly 280 individuals from the student body, faculty, staff, community, and guest institutions across the region. Panhandle State Alumni and Friends were the partnering office in the event, and the audience was filled with familiar faces from our members.

University President, Dr. Tim Faltyn commented, “I am so proud of Valentina Allen and her team at El Centro for their hard work and dedication to providing a space for all of our students to find success during their time at OPSU. The grand opening, red carpet event, and play were amazing!”

El Centro is one of the main projects from the Title V grant awarded to OPSU in September 2020. The Director of the Hispanic Student Center, Valentina Allen, became the project director in January 2021, and El Centro was officially opened to students on August 25.

Valentina Allen stated, “This event has been several months in the making. Our students planned everything, designed everything, and organized the entire evening. It was amazing to see the community come out to support this special project. We’ve made some great friends with colleagues at guest institutions that traveled hundreds of miles to come and support us. This project has created a family in the panhandle region among many institutions serving our Hispanic students. Everyone enjoyed the red-carpet event and dressing up. I’m so proud of the talented students that we have here at Panhandle State. Their ideas are so creative, and they made this night special for us. I love that every event from this office is student-led and keeps inclusivity and education in mind. I look forward to many more events like this.”

Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Brad Duren stated, “El Centro has become an integral part of the OPSU campus, and I know it is only going to grow. Ms. Allen and her staff are doing amazing work providing vital services and support for our Hispanic student community. I am excited to see what the future brings, and I know the grand opening festivities are just the beginning of our vital role as a Hispanic Serving Institution.”

The Hispanic Student Center serves an average of 300 students weekly in tutoring, advising, leadership workshops, private study spaces, and cultural events in both English and Spanish.

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