In the Spotlight

Spotlight Photo

Enrique López-Contreras

Department

Philosophy and Modern Languages


Biography

The third of six brothers, I was born in Caracas, Venezuela in South America. My father Fernando was a diplomat and historian and my grandfather Eleazar a military man, writer and historian who became president of Venezuela after a 27-year dictatorship and planted the seeds for democracy in Venezuela. I grew in an environment of striving to make a better country and a better world. I became an educator because I feel it is the noblest of professions by helping to form good and useful citizens. In teaching foreign languages students learn about other cultures and learn to appreciate and respect their richness and are able to communicate effectively contributing to good relations and peace among individuals and nations. Besides my academic and intellectual pursuits, I also love sports — soccer in particular. I was selected to the Venezuelan Olympic and national teams and while living in San Francisco; I became a Junior National Champion with the Hakoah Club in 1961.

Then in 1966, I was part of the first NCAA Division I National Championship soccer team in the history of the University of San Francisco. This coming February, I will be inducted into the University of San Francisco’s Hall of Fame. I am also fourth on the career scoring list at USF. I have two sons — Enrique, an administrator who lives in Miami, and Pablo, a film editor who lives in Caracas. Now, as in my youth, I am always traveling and I am grateful for the opportunity of having met so many wonderful people in different parts of the world. It has made me a better and a more understanding, compassionate human being.

While my father was Consul General of Venezuela in Trinidad and Tobago from 1950 to 1952, John Wayne came to have dinner at my house. My father had met him at the island and gave him a movie script he had written for his consideration.


Academic Credentials

B.A. Psychology. University of San Francisco.
M.A. Education. Virginia Tech.
Ph.D. Spanish. Simón Bolívar University


Area of expertise

Spanish Language and Literature. Bilingual Education. College Administration. Bicultural issues. Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).


What have you learned from your students?

I have learned to know myself better and students have enriched me culturally, intellectually and personally.


Why do students choose CSU Stanislaus?

Because of the warm student-faculty ratio, the quality of its faculty, administrators and staff, the size, beauty, and safety of the campus and its physical location close to the foothills, San Francisco, Sacramento, and the Pacific Ocean.


How do students succeed in your class?

By inspiring them through my love of the subject matter, superb preparation of the lesson plan, creating the optimal learning atmosphere by telling them that despite a Ph.D. I am still learning, that I don't know everything; by admitting my mistakes and allowing them to make constructive criticism in class, being fair yet strict, teaching by example, and by showing respect for each individual, their ideas, opinions, and ethnic backgrounds.


What brought you to CSU Stanislaus?

My love for California that started when my father was appointed Consul General of Venezuela in San Francisco in 1957. I finished high school and college there and made wonderful friends. Then, after ten years, I returned to Venezuela and started my college career and began my administrative experience as department chair and finished as college president. Because my colleague and soccer teammate at the University of San Francisco, Professor Al Tsacle, was teaching at CSU Stanislaus, I came as a visiting lecturer from 1989-1991 on my sabbatical leave and fell in love with the campus. During my stay, I started a faculty exchange program with my campus in Venezuela. In 1997, Dr. Marvalene Hughes, former President of CSU Stanislaus, came on a visit to Venezuela to see the campus, and suggested I participate in a search for the position of Chair for the Department of Modern Languages at CSU Stanislaus. I followed her advice, won the search and have been happily on campus since 1997.


If you were not teaching, what other career do you see yourself in?

As a psychologist, as a counselor; working to help human beings become better persons and useful citizens.


Describe a former student who has attained professional success.

My former student Linda Stubbs, valedictorian and Magna Cum Laude graduate wrote a letter to the Provost saying that she had had wonderful teachers at CSU Stanislaus, and that I had helped her become a better person. She has recently become an elementary school principal.


E-mail Address

ELContreras@csustan.edu

 

SPOTLIGHT ARCHIVES
Updated: 04/28/2011
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Turlock, California 95382

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