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Arcadia Lopez Papers

March 11, 2010

While Arcadia Lopez never taught at UTSA, she left a legacy for the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies at the time of her death in 2007. The Arcadia Lopez Endowed Scholarship is designed specifically for students pursuing a degree in bilingual education, which was a lifelong passion of Lopez’s.

Navarro School, high first grade, circa 1917

As a refugee from the Mexican Revolution, knowing no English, Arcadia struggled in San Antonio schools where teachers spoke little to no Spanish. She failed the first grade several times, but her determination led her to eventually graduate from Our Lady of the Lake University with her Bachelor’s degree (1934) in mathematics and education. Lopez continued her education with a master’s degree in education (1938) from the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate from Nova University in Florida.

Lopez at her desk, circa 1983

Lopez became one of Texas’s first bilingual education teachers and spent more than 40 years as a bilingual education teacher and as the supervisor and coordinator of bilingual programs at the San Antonio Independent School District. After her retirement from SAISD she joined Our Lady of the Lake University as director of its bilingual training program. In 1992, Lopez’s autobiography, Barrio Teacher, was published by Arte Público Press.

Distinguished Service Award from SAISD, 1980

Throughout her career Lopez was recognized for her dedication to education and received numerous awards, including the Ford Salute to Education and San Antonio Light’s Woman of the Year Award. She was also inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame. Shortly after her death, a Texas State Senate Resolution was written in Lopez’s memory.

While the Arcadia Lopez Papers are open for research, arrangement and rehousing efforts are underway to ensure the longevity of the collection.

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