Whoever thinks that Latinos don’t have a long history of attending UW- Madison clearly has never met Cristina Mondragon ’78 JD’84 and her family. Cristina Mondragon’s family, the Carreno-Mondragons, has had a family member attend The University of Wisconsin- Madison EVERY decade starting 1944. Talk about a family legacy!
- Her mother started the tradition graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1948 and a Masters in 1949. Her sister, Rachel, graduated in 1950 with her Bachelor of Science degree.
- Her brother, Abel, graduated in 1956 with his Bachelor of Science degree.
- Theresa Carreno Morse, a cousin of Cristina, graduated with honors in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
- Cristina joined the ranks of family Badgers in 1978 when she earned a Bachelor of Science and then again in 1984 when she earned her Juris Doctorate.
- Nancy Carreño, a cousin, continued the tradition in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in 1993.
- Marisa Mondragon, a niece of Cristina, graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science.
- Seth Carreño, the son of one of Cristina’s cousins, also completed his Bachelor of Science in 2013.
- Most recently, in 2021, Cristina helped her nephew William move into campus as the newest badger family member. William is also playing the trumpet for the University of Wisconsin Marching Band on the same field his grandfather, Jesse Carreño, played football on in the 50's before he had to leave to the military.
Mondragon was born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin where she currently resides as a lawyer. In law school, she was elected president of the Student Bar Association in her final year and was heavily involved in the Women's Student Bar Association as secretary for two years. She was awarded the Ruth Doyle Award for her contribution to the student bar.
The 1970’s were a vibrant time on campus. However, Cristina recalls that it was also a time when “much of the anger and turmoil in our country at that time spilled over and into our campus lives.” The Vietnam Moratorium demonstration and the Kent State shootings in the spring brought the National Guardsmen with rifles to Bascom Hill. These two events affected Cristina and her outlook on life forever. When asked about her favorite experience as a Badger, she knew her answer right away: Freshman move- in day. Cristina had this to say about it:
“Move in day, the stars were all favorably aligned for my studies in Madison. My parents and two younger brothers were all dressed up and excited. A rare experience for our family unless we were on our way to Mexico to visit my father's family. I was moving into Chadbourne Hall and my mother could not have been more pleased. The rest of the family followed with excitement. I remember the boys and my dad placing my things in the big bin from the dorm and taking it up the elevator. Move in day was the only time the dorm was open to men beyond weekend hours according to the dorm rules. I could not even imagine my world without my brothers. But it would be. I got off the elevator and the first thing I heard was the hit band The 5th Dimension playing on someone's record player in the lobby area directly in front of the elevator. It was the beginning of the Age of Aquarius for my generation. My dorm room was on the 5th floor and my house was Murray House. I had never felt that much excitement around me. So many young women and their families all in one place all at the same time. There was a lot to look forward to that day already because my parents gave me all new clothes and a lot of the necessities of living in the dorm. All brand new! I met so many people and there was a lot of buzz swarming around about all of the events that were to take place during the week before classes were to start.”