Ricardo Gutiérrez-Mouat, an Emory Spanish professor, remembered for his long-term commitment to teaching since 1978 at Emory and his passion for Latin American Studies, died on Sept. 18 this past week. He was 63.
Gutiérrez-Mouat was diagnosed with cancer only two weeks before his death, but it progressed rapidly. Because of his good health, students, faculty and his family were shocked by his sudden passing, according to Donald Tuten, chair of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese.
“It happened all of a sudden,” College senior Brian Delgado said, remarking that he sat in Gutiérrez-Mouat’s class just a week ago. Delgado has taken several classes taught by Professor Gutiérrez-Mouat since his freshman year.
“Gutiérrez-Mouat was an engaging professor who was really dedicated to his students,” Tuten said. “He used to teach Latin American Literature Studies 101, which was always overfilled. He was always challenging his students to push them to question their own established beliefs.”
Gutiérrez-Mouat was friendly, approachable and always willing to help when students needed him, according to Delgado. He would often tease students without making them feel bad, he added.
Delgado thought that his individual moments with Gutiérrez-Mouat are the most unforgettable.
“Professor Gutiérrez-Mouat even talked about his love of rock-and-roll with me,” Delgado said. “It was so much fun. Those lively moments are so real that I can’t believe Professor Gutiérrez-Mouat’s absence in my life.”
College junior Paola Correia said she was grateful for Gutiérrez-Mouat’s enthusiasm in helping students even if he was busy.
“I really appreciated that he would spend time putting extra detailed comments on the margins of my paper, [which was] especially helpful for me when I was a freshman,” she said.
After Gutiérrez-Mouat cancelled two classes, Delgado became suspicious and reached out to see how he was doing. Gutiérrez-Mouat replied telling Delgado to “live your life to the fullest,” according to Delgado.
According to Tuten, Professor Gutiérrez-Mouat’s family is planning to hold a memorial service in early October.