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Rosales Retires After More 30-Plus Year Career at TSTC

Saturday, December 21, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

RosalesAs the Fall Semester came to an end, so did the long and fruitful career of Luis Rosales, a man known for his compassionate heart, caring ways and willingness to help any student or coworker during his 30-plus year career at Texas State Technical College.

Rosales announced he'd retire at the end of the calendar year and a couple of weeks before the semester came to an end, Rosales was honored with a small retirement party.

Current and former students and coworkers stopped by to wish him well in his next chapter and share stories from days passed.

Rosales served two stints at TSTC in two very different roles. But if you asked the 71-year old, he'd tell you they were one in the same as the goal for everyone working at TSTC should always be student success.

"I'm really going to miss the students," Rosales said. "I really enjoyed giving them the opportunity we didn't have when we were their age. Growing up in the 1960s, we didn't get too much advice on going to college. It all depended on how well off your family was. If you could afford it, you'd go to college. If not, you had to find a job."

And soon after he graduated from Harlingen High School in the mid-1960s, Rosales found a job at Sears. That's where he learned the trade of air conditioning repair and flourished in the business.

Eventually, Rosales would train new employees on new technology and later served on the advisory board for the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology (ACT) Program at TSTC.

That's when opportunity knocked for Rosales and he would make TSTC a part of his life.

Rosales joined TSTC (known as Texas State Technical Institute then) in 1977 when he came on as a part-time instructor in the ACT program. By 1979, Rosales was a full-time instructor and in 1982 he took over as program chair.

In 1989, Rosales started the ACT program at TSTI-McAllen and remained there until that college became South Texas Community College in 1994. From 1994-96, Rosales worked as an instructor in the Industrial Maintenance Program before leaving the college. But he'd return.

In 2002, Rosales came back to TSTC to work as a recruitment specialist for the college, where he flourished as a spokesperson for the college and was popular with both current and incoming students.

"My work always involved talking to people," Rosales said. "So being an instructor and now a recruiter came natural to me. Even when I was an instructor, I was still recruiting. It was always about the students for me and helping them get an education and a better future for themselves and their families."

Most recently Rosales worked for Director of Student Recruitment Dora Colvin, who fought back tears when speaking about Rosales at his farewell gathering.

She explained that as the elder statesman on the staff, students and employees alike would come to him for career and life advice.

"First, Luis is an amazing individual," Colvin said. "He really cares about the students and they knew that. He was very respected by everyone he worked with and that says a lot about him. I've been here six years and he's helped me along the way too. He's going to be missed by everyone."

Guadalupe Hernandez is currently an instructor in the air conditioning program at STC and once served as program chair there too. Hernandez is a former student of Rosales and made his way to Harlingen to attend the farewell party.

"He's helped students but he's also helped contribute to the local economy by teaching so many individuals who've gone on to open their own businesses in the Valley," Hernandez said.

Ruben De La Rosa graduated from the Act Program at TSTC in the fall of 1986. He studied under Rosales and is currently in his 17th year as the ACT Program chair.

De La Rosa said that a lot of what he does today is influenced by what Rosales taught him nearly 30 years ago.

"He did a lot for the program as far as teaching us new technology and new programs," De La Rosa said. "But he really cared about the students and always made sure we had a job waiting for us. I try to do the same today with my students."

Accompanied by his wife, Irma, Rosales spent a few hours catching up with old friends at this party where tears and laughs complimented each other nicely.

Now after a long and successful career at TSTC, Rosales can relax and enjoy the next chapter of his life...maybe.

"I'm just going to take it easy for a while," Rosales said. "But I'm sure something will come up...there's always something to do, you know."

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