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Dr. Robert Galván turned 100 years old yesterday.
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Sunday, February 26, 2023

Dr. Robert Galván honored for lifetime of love, dedication, service

Dr. Robert Galván achieved a milestone few will ever see in their lifetimes yesterday, Feb. 25, by turning 100 years old. However, for Galván, hitting the century mark is only the latest in a long list of impressive successes as an educational pioneer, a volunteer, a social justice trailblazer and a contributor to the Spanish language.

In addition to his notable professional achievements, Galván had the love and support of his wife, Eva, married now 66 years, and their seven children, all of whom are college educated. When asked about the secret to his long life, he said, 'My wife’s love and kisses, keeping my mind busy and helping others.”

Galván has done all of these things to an admirable degree. Galván’s journey began in San Antonio on Feb. 25, 1923. Early on, he received academic acclaim, scoring high marks in Spanish and becoming a member of the National Honor Society. He graduated from Vocational and Technical High School in 1941, received a scholarship to attend the San Antonio Ju- nior College, from which he obtained an Associate of Arts degree with honors (Phi Theta Kappa) in May 1943.

Directly after college, Galván served during World War II from May 7, 1943 to March 18, 1946. While still deployed, Galván continued to pursue his academics, attending Shrivenham University in England while awaiting his discharge. He earned six credit hours in Spanish that would later be validated at Trinity University, from where he would graduate with honors in 1948. Following his graduation, he traveled with several fellow students and the chairman of the Foreign Language Department to Trinity’s Extension School in Mexico. He would go on to receive an master of arts from the University of Texas in the summer of 1949 and a Ph.D. from Tulane University in 1954. There he was awarded a teaching fellowship and a Carnegie Corporation Grant to do research on his doctoral dissertation at the Library of Congress.

Galván became the first Hispanic Ph.D. professor at Texas State University, where he worked until he retired at age 84. There he won numerous teaching awards including the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation Award, Bilingual Dedication and Excellence in Teaching Award, The Cervantes Award and was recognized by the students and alumni as one of Fifteen Outstanding Educators with one of the most valuable classes.

During his illustrious career as an educator, Galván published award-winning poems and defined the Spanish language by serving as an editor of the Mexican, North American and Spanish official dictionaries. He also co-authored the southwestern dialectical dictionary of Spanish.

Beyond the education scope, and perhaps one of the ways in which Galván kept an active mind, he became the first Hispanic director of a bank in San Marcos. In keeping with his philosophy of helping people, Galván served as a lifetime member of the Lion’s Club, having received the highest award for his dedicated and continuous service to the community. He created and sponsored organizations at Texas State and attained scholarships for students, including one in his name through the Lion’s Club. Galván also serves as a volunteer at St. John’s Catholic Church.

To commemorate his long and distinguished life, the City of San Marcos will issue a proclamation declaring Feb. 25 as Dr. Robert Galván Day. The proclamation reads as follows: “The City of San Marcos wishes to recognize Dr. Robert Galván for his love of family, church, his consistent generosity to the community and his intellectual role in developing Texas State University’s diversity and quality.”

The proclamation was scheduled to be signed and read aloud publicly by Mayor Jane Houson on Saturday at 1:50 p.m. Immediately following the proclamation, there is a parade celebrating Dr. Galván’s 100th birthday on Saturday at 2 p.m. at 704 Franklin Dr. Staging and car line up was to begin at 1:30 p.m. at Crockett Elementary. The family would like to request in lieu of gifts, donations be made to the Lion’s Club.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666