Rita Moreno will be ‘Illuminating the Path’ next week at Jorgensen 

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Renowned actress, dancer and singer Rita Moreno will be coming to the University of Connecticut Storrs campus next week to take part in the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center’s Illuminating the Path event. Her talk will take place Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts. 

Moreno has many claims to fame and is one of only 15 people in the world to have won an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony and a Grammy. The star was first known for her role as Anita in 1961’s film adaptation of “West Side Story.” It was for this role that Moreno won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. 

At Illuminating the Path, Moreno will participate in a moderated conversation with directors of PRLACC. She will speak about her life story, achievements and advocacy for diversity in the entertainment industry.  

Illuminating the Path is a yearly conversation with a prominent Latinx individual hosted by PRLACC. It is the cultural center’s biggest event in its celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. PRLACC said that Illuminating the Path aims to inspire students to think globally, become socially conscious and take part in social change. 

This year, students will have the opportunity to submit questions to Moreno through SUBOG’s Instagram. SUBOG will select student questions to ask Moreno, and two students who ask questions will be invited to meet her at a private dinner before the event. Students have until Friday to submit questions. 

Wanjiku Gatheru, SUBOG’s vice president of administration, said that she hopes giving students the ability to ask Moreno a question will foster more personal interaction between the star and students. She said SUBOG has picked student questions to ask a speaker before, during Yara Shahidi’s conversation at Jorgensen earlier this year, and that it did give students a chance to have a voice in the conversation.   

Students may be familiar with Moreno from modern works, as the star continues to be active in the arts well into her 80s. Moreno plays Lydia Riera on Netflix’s “One Day at a Time” and guest starred as Liliana De La Vega on the CW telenovela “Jane the Virgin.”  

Many of her awards, however, came from earlier in her career. In 1972, she won a Grammy for Best Album for Children with “The Electric Company Album.” Three years later, Moreno earned a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play; Moreno played Googie in the comedy “The Ritz.” Finally, Moreno’s Emmy came in 1977 for Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program, after she appeared on “The Muppet Show.” Just the next year, Moreno won another Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role on “The Rockford Files.”  

Moreno has won many other honors and awards, among them the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2004) and the Kennedy Center Honors for Lifetime Artistic Achievement (2015).  

In the past, actors like Diane Guerrero and Rosario Dawson, as well as journalists like John Quiñones, have been featured at Illuminating the Path. 

The event is co-sponsored by SUBOG and PRLACC and is free for undergraduate students to attend.  


Stephanie Santillo is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at stephanie.santillo@uconn.edu.

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