Harry P. Pachon, Ph.D was named president of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI) in 1993, and spent more than a dozen years transforming it into a nationally recognized research institution, and think tank on policy issues relevant to the Latino community.
Pachon died Nov. 4 following a long illness. He was 66 years of age.
At the time of his death, he was a tenured professor of public policy, a position he held since 2003. He retired from TRPI in 2010.
The Daily Trojan reported that Pachon died from complications of aspiration pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease after spending several months in the hospital.
On the TRPI website, a statement memorializing Pachon called him one of the “most influential voices of his generation in public discourse about the Latino population.”
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. … 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.”
Pachon was also the co-founder of NALEO, the National Association of Elected Officials Education Fund, where he spent a decade as the group’s executive director prior to joining TRPI.
According to the Tomas Rivera website, Pachon “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.
The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI) moved from Claremont Graduate University to USC in 2003.
Under Pachon’s 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.
In 1997, 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 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.
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).
Pachon is survived by his wife Barbara and their children. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.