Ceremony honors former DMC professor

College dedicates plaza to former English instructor Anzaldúa, who died in ’12

Former students and faculty showed their admiration for their late professor at a ceremony to dedicate the Mike Anzaldúa Plaza on April 21.

“He was our King Arthur, our Socrates, our Zeus,” said Bret Anthony Johnston, a 1994 Del Mar College graduate who now serves as director of the James A. Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas.

Johnston said the plaza will be a place to remember Anzaldúa’s legacy.

The ceremony marked the official opening of the plaza, along with the 141,429 square foot General Academic Music Building. The official grand opening was originally planned for April 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to be postponed.

DMC President Mark Escamilla leads the dedication ceremony for Mike Anzaldúa Plaza on April 21.

The building is filled with general learning classrooms, labs and music rooms, which also include technology used for music practice, Virtual Acoustic Environment.

Del Mar College President Mark Escamilla welcomed and recognized the “first and largest transformation of the 2014 bond referendum.”

“Mike Anzaldúa Plaza, where we are now, is the heart of this facility,” Escamilla told the crowd.

Anzaldúa taught at Del Mar College for 43 years and according to many students and peers, he was very passionate about his teaching.

Anzaldúa, who died in 2012, left more than $400,000 to scholarships at DMC for students in music, English and Mexican-American studies.

Joel Hernandez, a DMC graduate, performed “Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet” by Igor Stravinsky as a tribute to Anzaldúa, who also played the clarinet.

“Of course, this Mike Anzaldúa Plaza is the feature that ties all these buildings together and it’s a great testimony to Mike’s memory,” said Carol A. Scott, chair of DMC Board of Regents.

Scott recognized the community’s support for the expansion. She said the Board of Regents is grateful for their stakeholders’ shared vision.

“More importantly, we thank you for investing in the next generations of Del Mar College’s students,” Scott said.

About $46 million of the $157 million 2014 bond referendum was spent on the construction of the building and plaza.

Quotes are placed along the outside of the plaza to encourage students and faculty, which also include two of Anzaldúa’s very own quotes.

“Here before you lies a sumptuous buffet – rich, succulent, and delicious. I leave it to you, to indulge yourself and to enjoy.” 

Along with a second, “We are the lucky ones.”

The former professor is seen to have left a huge impact on the community and Del Mar College.

“He was a beloved professor of English for 43 years at Del Mar College,” Escamilla said, “and that’s where his heart was.”

The Honorable Hilda G. Tagle speaks on behalf of Anzaldúa’s family at the event. She described Anzaldúa and his work as “passionate.”

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