Ruben Candia, Ph.D., a language professor at St. Mary’s University, has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award to teach American Studies in Spain this spring semester.
Candia’s proposal to teach American Studies with an emphasis on Mexican American/Chicano culture and literature was accepted by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Candia will guide students at University of Barcelona and the Autonomous University of Barcelona through the Mexican American experience, including the struggle for equality, justice and civil rights. He will focus on how Mexican Americans have matured as an ethnic group and contributed to American culture.
The Fulbright Program, the United States’ flagship international educational exchange activity, is sponsored by the U.S Department of State and intended to build mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and other countries. Recipients are selected based on academic or professional achievement or because they have demonstrated extraordinary leadership potential in their fields.
Candia brings a personal perspective to the teaching of the Mexican American experience. The oldest of 11 children, he was born to immigrant parents and spent the first half of his childhood in the small border farming community of Clint, Texas. After World War II, his parents Victoria and Longino relocated the family to El Paso.
A member of the Junior ROTC at El Paso’s Jefferson High School, Candia joined the military in 1955 to pay for college. After 27 years and a career that took Candia and his family worldwide, he retired as a lieutenant colonel, accepting a language department faculty position at St. Mary’s in 1981. Since then, he has built his second career at St. Mary’s as assistant professor and then full professor, serving as the chair of the languages department until last year.
St. Mary’s has more than 20 faculty members who are either Fulbright Scholars or winners of the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation’s “Piper Professor” award for teaching excellence.