Ramón García-Castro, 1940–2020
The professor emeritus of Spanish died May 2 in Philadelphia.
Ramón García-Castro, professor emeritus of Spanish who taught at the College for 35 years, died Saturday, May 2, at his home in Philadelphia. He was 79.
Born in Santiago, Chile, García-Castro was a graduate of the University of Chile, where he trained to teach English. He moved to the United States in 1968, and earned his master's degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. His scholarly inquiries were not limited to Spanish, but also included English and French literature.
García-Castro joined the Haverford faculty in 1972 as an assistant professor. He, along with Luis Manuel Garcia-Barrio from Spain, created the College’s Spanish Department and designed its innovative curriculum and co-curricular program.
“He was especially passionate about creating an intellectual home and community for students who came to Haverford with English as their second language,” said Provost Fran Blase.
His contributions to the curriculum included not only crafting introductory language courses, but also creating upper-level courses on Latin American and Caribbean literature, new areas of study for the College at that time. He often invited authors, artists, and social and political leaders to campus, and was instrumental in building the Library's collection in Latin American literature.
“His influence on students was profound,” said Blase. “Those who had the good fortune to study with Ramón in his classes or independent thesis work found him to be an energetic, deeply committed and inspiring educator and scholar. They often described him as 'the most influential professor' in their educational experience, 'a pioneer,’ and 'a memorable, supportive champion,' especially of Latinx students in our community. He also was an exemplary faculty colleague, a kind, gentle, humble person, who always offered his support and friendship with a broad, warm smile and a dose of sharp humor.”
“Ramón García-Castro was the chair of the Spanish Department [in my] time, and he was just one of these incredible professors,” said Haverford former Spanish major and current Vice President of Institutional Advancement Ann Figueredo ’84 in a profile following her hire that appeared in the fall 2014 issue of Haverford magazine. “He was so energized, so passionate about his work, and about literature.”
He is survived by his devoted partner of many years, Ben Lariccia.