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Growing up 'Castro'

Date: 9/30/2011

Growing up 'CastroPh: Fernandez

Monday, October 3, 7 p.m.
Francis Hall Theater and Recital Hall

In her illuminating talk, Alina Fernandez, the illegitimate daughter of Fidel Castro, shares her first-person, intimate account of growing up in Cuba. Through her insight as part of the Cuban elite, Fernandez describes her life in Cuba and its political environment during the 1960s and ’70s.

As one of Fidel Castro’s children, Fernandez had a strangely mixed upbringing with a combination of privilege and privation. As she grew up and opened her eyes to the political climate in Cuba, Fernandez became rebellious, and became part of the political dissident movement on the island. By 1993 she was forced to flee Cuba. Today, she resides in the United States.

Members of the audience will also hear about the struggles of immigration from members of the well-known Valdespino family. Andres Valdespino, grandfather of Alvernia's current Student Government President, was a highly respected Cuban man, who served as Castro’s Undersecretary to the Treasury, and as a Law professor at the University of Havana. When Andres opposed Castro's methods, he was forced to flee to America with his family. 

Part of the 2011 Greater Reading Literary Festival at Alvernia, this event is sponsored by Multicultural Initiatives, University Life, Campus Ministry, and the Holleran Center.

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.