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Spanish professor Ricardo Aguilar-Melantzon passes away

Spanish professor Ricardo Aguilar-Melantzon died today at Providence Memorial Hospital in El Paso, where he had been hospitalized for about a week following a heart attack.

Ricardo Aguilar-Melantzon died today at Providence Memorial Hospital in El Paso. (NMSU photo)

He was 57. A funeral mass for Aguilar is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at Nuestra Senora del Sagrado Corazon in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The church is located at the corner of Insurgentes and Venezuela.

Aguilar, the 2003 New Mexico Professor of the Year and an NMSU Regents Professor, had been a faculty member in the languages and linguistics department for more than 10 years. He served as department head for languages and linguistics and as a member of the board of directors of the New Mexico Hispanic Cultural Center from 1994 to 1997. He also was acting director of the Center for Latin American and Border Studies from 2002 to 2003. He was known internationally for his research in Chicano literature and for his own creative writing.

"As an acclaimed writer, Dr. Aguilar-Melantzon had a distinguished national and international career," said Waded Cruzado-Salas, dean of the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences. "On behalf of the College of Arts and Sciences, I express my deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues."

"Dr. Aguilar-Melantzon was a gifted, caring teacher and mentor who combined high expectations from his students with great support for their work," said Jeff Brown, associate dean of the college. "He will be greatly missed by his colleagues, by his students and the staff members who worked with him and by his many friends across the United States and Mexico."

"I've lost a really good friend and wonderful colleague," said Beth Pollack, department head of languages and linguistics. "He will be missed by all."

Aguilar received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso and his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.