UNT’s First Latino Tenured Professor Celebrates Burnt Orange 90th Birthday

G. Roland Vela, BA ’50, PhD ’64, Life Member, raises his horns at his 90th birthday celebration, thrown for him in September by his family. Vela is a professor emeritus at the University of North Texas who supervised 20 PhD students and 40 master’s students before retiring in 2000. He joined the microbiology faculty in 1965 and was the first Latino professor awarded tenure at UNT. Vela was named one of the Top 100 Texas Latinos of the 20th Century by Latino Monthly and the soccer fields at North Lakes Park in Denton, Texas, are newly named in his honor.

In 1991, UNT established an award in his name awarded to those making significant contributions to the education of Hispanics. In addition, materials and papers associated with Gerald Roland Vela Muzquiz’s 35 year career at UNT are stored in their collection. Vela was one of the first Mexican-American Microbiologists in the country, and these materials represent the first-acquired and first fully-processed collection from a Mexican-American faculty member at UNT.

 

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