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La Casa Latina’s New Director: Johnny Irizarry
January 22, 2008, Volume 54, No. 18



Johnny Irizarry has been named director of La Casa Latina, the Center for Hispanic Excellence, effective January 7. He will lead co-curricular, cultural, and social programs for Penn students and student organizations with a focus on Latino diasporic cultures.

Mr. Irizarry came to Penn from The Lighthouse, a community-based center in Philadelphia, where he served for seven years as executive director/CEO. Previously, he worked as an educator in various community-based schools, for 12 years as executive director of Taller Puertorriqueño, a Puerto Rican and Latino arts and cultural community-based center, and subsequently, as program specialist for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies for the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Curriculum Support. He has taught Puerto Rican/Latino art and history as an adjunct instructor at La Salle and currently at Temple. He also lectures on the development of Puerto Rican and Latino history, arts and culture, community arts, culturally inclusive education, arts education and arts and non-profit management.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me,” Mr. Irizarry said. “To be able to share my passions and experience in arts and education with tomorrow’s Latino leaders at a prestigious university like Penn is truly exciting. I am thankful for the chance to continue to make a difference for our Latino and Hispanic students.”

VPUL Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum lauded him as an ideal fit. “Johnny has a wealth of experience in Latino issues and our local Philadelphia community. His expertise in Latino arts and culture will be fantastic for our students. I know he will be an outstanding leader for our already strong Latino/Hispanic community. We’re thrilled to have him.”

Almanac - January 22, 2008, Volume 54, No. 18