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Guillermo Rojas, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota.

At 5:00AM on May 19, 2011 Professor Guillermo Rojas passed away as a result of a recent illness. His family indicated that his passing was “peaceful and honorable.”
Professor Rojas served the Department of Chicano Studies and the University of Minnesota in numerous capacities from 1982-2006. During his time as Associate Professor of Chicano Studies, he also served as Program Director of MLK and Department Chair.In addition, Professor Rojas was an advisor to many students who were not even in the Chicano Studies program and he was an advisor to la raza student cultural center helping in the planning, coordination and even participating in many of la raza’s events. Upon his retirement in 2006, the department established a scholarship in his name for seniors majoring in Chicano Studies to honor their perseverance and commitment, ideals that he embodied. http://chicano.umn.edu/academics/scholarships.html

Bio from Chicano Studies website
Guillermo was born in Victoria, Texas, a place he identified as being colonized by Martin de Leon. Professor Rojas began his undergraduate education at Del Mar Junior College in Corpus Christi. He subsequently joined the Air Force and trained as a Czech language specialist and spent three years in Germany. He completed his undergraduate work at North Texas State University, in Denton, majoring in Spanish and minoring in French and German. He went on to obtain a Masters degree from the same institution and later moved to Illinois to earn a doctoral degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign focusing on Spanish, Spanish American Literature and Brazilian Literature. Professor Rojas believes that Chicanos are the flowers of our Indian and Spanish ancestors. Guillermo sees that in a toxified
and polluted surrounding, Chicano Studies offers a way to air out the environment by offering truths about how Mexicans, Mexicas, Chicanas,and Chicanos became, and have always been, part of the American spectrum.

In accordance with his final wishes, his family has decided that a memorial service will be held in his honor at a date yet yet to be determined. Later this summer, his family will travel to Texas to scatter his ashes in Victoria, TX on the Guadalupe River and to celebrate his life. His family will work with the Department of Chicano Studies to host a memorial for Professor Rojas at the U of M. The department will honor him at during our upcoming 40th Anniversary celebration and include memorialize him as part of our annual día de los muertos altar.

If you would like to send a note to the Rojas family, please send to:
The Rojas Family
711 Skillman Ave. E
Maplewood MN 55117

Professor Rojas was deeply respected and much loved professor, colleague, friend, and mentor to many. Below you may have your tribute to Professor Rojas posted online by sending an e-mail to Rodrigo Sanchez Chavarria at chicstud@umn.edu

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2 responses »

  1. Dr. Rojas was lovingly known as to his students as “Rojas” at UC Davis in the early 1970’s. His gruff but loving demeanor was instrumental in shaping us as Chicanos during our formative years as Chicanos. He was a strong but moderating and rationale voice during some turbulent times with the UC Davis adminstration and even among ourselves during that time. Siempre camaradas, Jose.

    Reply
  2. Dr. Cynthia E. Orozco

    My condolences to the Rojas family. I never met Prof. Rojas and just recently found out he was originally from Victoria, Texas. I am even more impressed with his accomplishments knowing that he came out of Victoria, a small isolated community at the time. His accomplishments were many; I am particularly impressed with his multilingual and multicultural knowledge and experiences. May he rest in peace. Dr. Cynthia E. Orozco

    Reply

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