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The Passing of Harry P. Pachon

Created: 07 November, 2011
Updated: 26 July, 2022
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3 min read

 Harry Pachon died yesterday morning with family by his side. He was 66 years of age. Harry Pachon was battling Parkinson’s disease and had been confronted with many complications this past year. We all join in expressing ourcondolences for Harry’s family, his wife Barbara, and their children.

 His colleague, Jack H. Knott, Dean of the School of Policy, Planning, and Development at University of Southern California, observed that:

 “Harry was a kind and generous person and a wonderful and beloved friend and colleague to many at USC and in the broader Latino Community. He will be dearly missed as a friend and colleague, and his legacy of extraordinary contributions to Latino politics and policy at a crucial period in the development of the Latino Community in America will be remembered always.”

 Harry P. Pachon, Ph.D. was a professor of Public Policy at USC and joined the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI) in 1993, as president. Roberto Suro is the current head of the TRPI.

 He was a tenured Professor of Public Policy at SPPD.  Prior to joining the faculty at USC, Harry was the Luther Lee Professor of Public Policy at Claremont Graduate School.  He published 4 books and numerous book chapters and journal articles over the course of his career concerned with Latino social capital, educational opportunities, civic and political engagement, electoral behavior, and racial justice.  In addition, he served as the principal investigator on several million dollars of externally-funded research grants and contracts and was an effective and well-liked teacher who inspired his students.

 Since 1993, he was the President of the nationally-renowned Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI), which moved from Claremont Graduate University to USC in 2003. Under his leadership, TRPI grew into a civic research organization with national visibility and impact, making major contributions in the areas of immigration, education policy, and Latino politics and policy. As director of TRPI, Harry had a tremendous impact on the Latino community, both locally and nationally. He testified several times before congressional committees, served on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, and co-founded and served as chairman of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials Education Fund (NALEO). He also served on the boards of several local organizations, including the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, Southern California Public Radio and KPPC, and the Education Advisory Committee of the Rand Corporation.

  In 1997, Dr. Pachon was appointed to serve as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. Additionally, saluting his ongoing work on behalf of Mexicans living in the United States, the Mexican Government presented Dr. Pachon with the Ohtli (humanitarian) Award. He was a board member of the Haynes Foundation and Southern California Public Radio.

 Dr. Pachon was a founding board member and past executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. While at NALEO, he initiated a nationally acclaimed U.S. citizenship project that has been replicated on a multi-ethnic basis across the country and initiated the National Directory of Latino Elected Officials, which is now in its seventeenth year of publication.

 Dr. Pachon had authored over twenty articles and journals, and co-authored three books on U.S. Latino politics and political behavior. He held academic positions at Michigan State University, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, City University of New York, and held the Kenan All Campus Chair at the Claremont Colleges. He recently was a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California in the School of Policy, Planning and Development.

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 Dr. Pachon received his B.A. and M.A. in political science at California State University of Los Angeles, and earned his Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. He has been awarded post-doctoral fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Association of Schools for Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).

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