ALMA unveiled

A new affinity group for Mizzou’s 7,477 Latino alumni seeks to demonstrate appreciation for culture and heritage while linking its members to the larger Mizzou Alumni Association.

founding leaders of latino alumni group
Meet the founding leaders of the Alliance of Latino Mizzou Alumni, from left: Ruben Valadez, BJ ’01; Jacquelinne Mejia, BJ ’11; and Joe Valenciano, BA ’95.

Published on Show Me Mizzou Sept. 5, 2023
Story by Jack Wax, BS Ed ’73, MS ’76, MA ’87 

For Spanish speakers, alma means soul. For Tigers, ALMA is the acronym for the Alliance of Latino Mizzou Alumni, a newly launched MAA affinity group for alumni who identify as Latino, Hispanic, Latin American/Latino, Latinx or having Spanish ancestry, as well as for faculty and any alumni interested in joining or supporting the group.   

Because Mizzou’s 7,477 Latino alums are scattered throughout the U.S. and world, a website,, serves as the communications focal point of the group. Visitors to the website can join the group at no cost and sign up for updates about ALMA and its members.   

“ALMA’s message to Latinos is that your heritage and culture are appreciated,” says Jacquelinne Mejia, BJ ’11, of Los Angeles, who along with two other MAA leaders — Ruben Valadez, BJ ’01, of Eagle Pass, Texas, and Joe Valenciano, BA ’95, of Lenexa, Kansas — shepherded ALMA from early brainstorming sessions last year to a working project that they hope will become a vital part of the MAA.  

The new group aspires to be both a welcoming home for its members as well as a bridge linking those members to the larger association. Mejia, Valadez and Valenciano are excited to see the group’s website up and running, but they consider it only a first step. “What we hope to do next is to get some feedback from ALMA members to determine what sort of programming they’d be interested in,” Valenciano says.

Valadez looks forward to building a future where ALMA offers Latinos a unified voice within the alumni association while supporting the personal and professional lives of its members. Referring to the Spanish meaning of the acronym he helped coin, he says, “This will be an organization that has some real soul in it — with some real important work to do for individuals and the alumni association.”

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