UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman was joined by the University community, Massachusetts legislators, and members of the Portuguese community for the announcement of a $500,000 bequest by Otilia Ferreira. This generous gift will fund a new endowment to be named "The Rosa and Esther Santos-Ferrreira Endowment". The announcement was made during the celebration of the five year anniversary recently on the UMass Dartmouth campus, October 9, 2014.
"Collecting, preserving and sharing this the history and artifacts of the Portuguese-American experience with our students, the community, and the rest of the world is a responsibility we take very seriously here at UMass Dartmouth because the rich culture and history of the Lusophone world is woven throughout the community we serve," said Chancellor Grossman. "To know the story contained within the archive is to understand this region and understand the American Dream."
Speaking on the generosity of the Ferreira-Mendes family, Chancellor Grossman said "It demonstrates a love of this place that bears your father's name. It demonstrates a passion for educating the community about the contributions that Portuguese-Americans have made to this region, state, nation and the world."
The new fund will support scholarships for students enrolled in a degree program for Portuguese studies or communications, a student or author to research and develop a profile on the life of Affonso Gil Mendes, acquisition of new materials for the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, and outreach efforts designed to showcase the Portuguese culture and highlighting the Portuguese-American experience.
"Naming the Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives was a lifelong dream come true. Our commitment to Portuguese has not wavered. The legacy our family and others in the Portuguese community will live on in the archives," said Otilia Ferreira.
The Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives are named for the pioneer Portuguese-language radio and newspaper personality, Affonso Gil Mendes Ferreira, whose daughter, Otilia Ferreira, is the Archives' major sponsor. The Archives house the largest collection of historical material documenting the experience of Portuguese immigrants and their descendants in the United States.
National in scope, the Archives contain papers of Portuguese-Americans distinguished in politics, business, law, entertainment, the arts and literature. Among its holdings are genealogical records, newspapers, books, recordings, family photographs, scrapbooks and correspondence that document social history, illustrating the collective experience of immigration, settlement and life in the United States.