Saturday, July 2, 2005
Service to Honor Educator
By Lloyd Jojola
Journal Staff Writer
A memorial service will be held Tuesday for Frank Angel Jr., called the first Hispanic president of any public university in the country.
The service will take place at 3:30 p.m. at the University of New Mexico Alumni Memorial Chapel. A reception will follow at the Hibben Center, nearby.
Angel died peacefully in his sleep May 29 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, while visiting the family of his wife, Gladis.
He had a long, distinguished career as an educator, culminating in 1971 when he was chosen president of New Mexico Highlands University.
"As the first Chicano college president, I hope to serve as a model for Spanish-surnamed people that we too can reach these kinds of positions and that avenues of mobility are not closed to us," Angel was quoted as saying in newspaper story written at the time.
He retired from Highlands in 1975. Prior to that, Angel had served as a professor and assistant dean at UNM. It was there he established the Latin American Programs in Education, offering training to foreign educators.
"Students from those programs eventually became university presidents themselves, ministers of education, vice ministers and director generals in their respective countries," stated an obituary written by long-time friend and former colleague, Ron Blood.
Angel was a Las Vegas, N.M., native who began his educational career at age 18, teaching elementary school classes in one- and two-room school houses in rural San Miguel County. He also served as a bomber pilot in the Pacific Theater during World War II, amassing more than 2,400 hours in flight time and receiving numerous decorations.
Among Angel's numerous involvements over the years, President Nixon appointed him to serve on the President's Bicentennial Commission, which helped prepare for the country's 200th birthday.