Professor Emeritus Raul Fernandez completed his secondary education in Cuba, received his B.A. from UC Berkeley in 1966 and his Ph.D. in Economics from Claremont Graduate University in 1971. He joined the faculty at UC Irvine in 1969. Fernandez’s research has focused on economic and cultural transactions between the U.S. and Latin America, conducting research on labor and migration, the U.S.-Mexico border, Latin jazz and Cuban music, Chicano history and the thought of José Martí. Fernandez has authored six books and edited two books. A Fulbright Fellow, Professor Fernandez was the Curator of the Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibit Latin Jazz: La combinación Perfecta, which opened in Washington, D.C. in 2002 and traveled to twelve US cities through 2006. A Department of Chicano/Latino Studies founder, as Emeritus, Professor Fernandez carries on his research, manages a blog critical of U.S. imperial policies, and continues mentoring undergraduate, graduate students and junior faculty. He is currently Secretary of the UC-Cuba Academic Initiative.
Professor Emeritus Gilbert Gonzalez began his college studies at East Los Angeles Junior College and went on to California State College, Los Angeles to graduate with a B.A. in Sociology. He then joined the Peace Corps and trained at Columbia University for community development in Caracas, Venezuela. Two years of Peace Corps service in Venezuela and travel throughout South America sparked a deep interest the history of the ethnic Mexican community. He returned and entered the M.A. program in Latin American Studies at California State Los Angeles just as the Chicano Movement was growing. His interest in the history of the ethnic Mexican community coincided with Chicano Movement centered educational reforms, which shaped Professor Gonzalez’ research agenda. While a Master’s student he engaged in struggles to initiate the first Chicano Studies department in the nation at Cal State Los Angeles and he became one of the first chairs of the department. Upon earning his M.A. degree he enrolled at UCLA in the U.S. History doctoral program. Before talking his qualifying examinations he was hired as an Acting Assistant Professor in Comparative Culture Program at UCI in 1971. His seven books covered educational segregation; labor, unionization and community; the Mexican government’s attempts to shape Mexican immigrant labor movements; and the imperial centrality of the U.S. in creating a century of Mexican migration (co-authored with Raul Fernandez). After retirement, he completed an award-winning film on the Bracero guest worker program which was screened at festivals, on PB.S. and at international conferences.