Remembering Dr. Jorge Zamora: Educator, Colleague, & Friend
Dr. Jorge Zamora, a distinguished scholar, educator, and cherished colleague, passed away at the age of 69 on July 12, leaving a void in the hearts of those who knew him. His journey from international business law to academia, and his immense contributions to the field of Spanish studies, have left an indelible mark on the students and faculty he met along the way.
Dr. Zamora began his graduate studies at the Texas Tech Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures (CMLL) in the fall of 1995. After completing his degree, he embarked on his teaching career at South Plains College, where his exceptional skills as a Spanish instructor quickly garnered recognition. In 2000, the Texas Tech CMLL department sought a professor to develop and teach the Business Spanish curriculum, leading them to discover Dr. Zamora's unparalleled aptitude and expertise. Overcoming the hesitations of hiring their own graduates at the time, they offered him a tenure-track permanent position.
As an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Texas Tech University since 2001, Dr. Zamora seamlessly integrated himself into the fabric of CMLL. His infectious optimism, unwavering cheerfulness, and overall persona elevated the atmosphere of the department, enriching his classes with dignity, integrity, and humor. Beyond the classroom, Dr. Zamora made a lasting impact as the co-director of the Mexico Field Course. His extensive knowledge of Mexican culture and his enthusiastic nature ensured students had a transformative and immersive experience. Whether through visits to wrestling arenas, churches, symphonic orchestra concerts, salsa dancing classes or meals at restaurants, Dr. Zamora's dedication went above and beyond, leaving an indelible impression on the program's participants.
Dr. Zamora's scholarly pursuits spanned diverse areas within Hispanic literature, focusing on horror and the grotesque in Hispanic fiction, Hispanic crime fiction, and the Hispanic historical novel. His contributions to the academic discourse included numerous articles, a book on the grotesque, and a co-edited anthology of studies in Hispanic crime fiction. His research shed new light on the cultural significance of these genres and enriched the academic community.
In April and May of 2023, close friend and colleague, Professor Lorum Stratton, recalls asking Dr. Zamora about how he wished to be remembered. Dr. Zamora's response encapsulated his character, as he replied with “an optimist with a positive attitude, faithful and true, a cheerful person with a good sense of humor. If I could summarize in one sentence my philosophy of life, it comes from the title of the song: --Let´s face the music and dance-.” Dr. Zamora's encouragement to embrace self-discovery and connect with one's culture resonated with those who had the privilege of working alongside him. One being fellow Spanish professor, Dr. Carmen Pereira. In memory of Dr. Zamora, Dr. Pereira shares:
"I have known Jorge since my arrival at TTU as an assistant professor of Spanish in 2005, but I truly got to know him when I became chair of the department in 2018. Firsthand I was able to admire the outstanding, caring teacher Jorge was (his evaluations showed pure and undiluted adoration from the students, no matter the subject he was teaching). I became aware of his consitently respectful and congenial manner with faculty and staff--who were all deeply fond of him. I have immence gratitude for his drive in accepting various entrusted academic missions, such as, the Director of Spanish and Portuguese and Co-PI of a major grant with the School of Veterinary. Jorge was pure generosity, with a heart of gold and a sense of duty as I had not often seen. I cherish every moment I had the privilege to share with him, especially in his last months when he knew he was so sick and still kept delivering unforgettable life lessons for all of us. My heart goes to all his family, students, and colleagues. We all share the untimely loss of a truly good man."
We express our deepest gratitude for the privilege of joining Dr. Jorge Zamora on his journey in academia. His infectious spirit, unwavering dedication, and profound impact will forever resonate within the hearts of those he inspired. As we mourn his loss, we reflect on the privilege of participating in "the dance" with him, and we will carry his memory forward with great reverence and gratitude.
Click here to read Professor Lorum Stratton's faculty spotlight on Dr. Zamora.
Dr. Zamora's celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 19 at the Southcrest Baptist Church (3801 S Loop 289, Lubbock, TX 79423). The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Dr. Jorge Zamora Memorial Scholarship fund at Texas Tech University.