Westfield State plans to resume its traditional, on-campus schedule for fall 2020. Given the ongoing uncertainties related to COVID-19, we believe it is also prudent to develop contingency plans. Updates will be communicated as they become available.



Westfield State University to host Javier Ávila’s one-man show, “The Trouble with My Name”

Westfield State University will host Javier Ávila, an author and professor, on Thursday, October 24 at 6:30 p.m. on the Dever Stage, Parenzo Hall, as part of the University’s Higher Ed/Higher Ground speaker series.

Ávila will perform an engaging one-man show titled “The Trouble with My Name,” an autobiographical journey about moving between cultures, illustrating the fascinating perspective of American Latinxs and their struggle against dispelling misconceptions about identity and their place in the world. Focusing on issues related to language, race, and social justice, he tells the story of his life and reads poetry about what it means to be an American of the future.

“Javier Ávila is an amazing performer, writer, and educator,” said Shirley Wong, Ph.D., Westfield State assistant professor of English. “With his one-man show, Ávila will share with the Westfield community his own experiences moving between different cultures, from Puerto Rico to Pennsylvania, and explore issues of race, identity, and language.”

Ávila’s successful career began as a professor for the University of Puerto Rico, where he taught English for eight years. Eventually, Ávila moved to Pennsylvania and taught at Northampton Community College. Due to his outstanding service to students, he was the recipient of the 2015 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year Award.

In addition to teaching, Ávila is also well known for his work as a novelist and poet. One of his more notable works, the novel titled Different, became a bestseller and was developed into the award-winning film, Miente, which garnered international attention. His poetry books, such as The Symmetry of Time and The Dead Man’s Position, have received positive recognition as well, including awards from the Pen Club and The Puerto Rico Institute of Culture.

Since its inception in 2016, the University’s Higher Ed/Higher Ground speaker series seeks to foster campus-wide conversations around racism, xenophobia, and other forms of oppression through programming with an emphasis on social justice.