Victor Manuel Garcia Perez, professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature and History, passed away on November 20. / ANTIOCH COLLEGE
Photo: Photo: Antioch College
Photo: Photo: Antioch College

Former longtime Antioch College professor dies at 79 in Yellow Springs

A longtime Antioch College tenure professor who influenced many students has died in Yellow Springs.

Victor Manuel Garcia Perez, professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature and History, passed away on Nov. 20.

During his long tenure at the Yellow Springs college, the school said Perez pioneered an engaging, effective method of instruction, leading to very high Spanish fluency rates in his students. He also developed and led study-abroad programs, which allowed students to get a long-term, immersive experience in his native Mexico, Costa Rica, and Cuba. In addition, he conducted several scholarly trips to Cuba and Japan and served as an electoral observer in El Salvador.

Antioch student testimonials of their time learning from Perez attest to the educational progress the professor worked toward his entire career.

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From Mexico City, Perez immigrated to the United States in the 1960s to continue his education. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Missouri before arriving at Antioch.

Lauren McDonald, a former student of Perez, said in a Facebook post to Antioch College, “Victor was a wonderful teacher. I took his Latin American History class, conducted entirely in Spanish with original source documents on the colonization and genocide. It left an enormous impression on me.”

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His impact was felt outside of the college as well. Perez engaged and championed efforts for racial, economic and gender equality. According to Antioch.edu, Perez was an active member of HUMAN (Help Us Make A Nation) and DCASC (the Dayton Central America Solidarity Committee), and he helped found Del Pueblo, an advocacy group offering a range of services to the Spanish-speaking community.

“Victor spent every day of his life as if it were his last — with energy, optimism, and compassion for others,” according to a statement from Antioch. “His passion for life, love, and justice and his strong spirit made him a unique individual who positively touched the lives of many.”

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