In Memoriam: Dr. Mirtha Quintanales (1948-2022)

November 20, 2022
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Dear Colleagues,

With sadness, we write to inform you that Dr. Mirtha Quintanales, Professor of Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at NJCU since September 1988, passed away in early November at the age of 73. A resident of Jersey City, N.J., she was born in Cuba on November 28, 1948 before coming to the United States in April 1962.

Her colleagues, Drs. Virginia Ochoa-Winemiller and David Blackmore,  wrote the following tribute in her memory:

Mirtha Quintanales

It is great sadness that the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies academic program (LATI) informs the community that LATI faculty member Dr. Mirtha Quintanales passed away.

Dr. Quintanales came to then-Jersey City State College in 1988 after receiving her B.A. from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University, all in the field of anthropology.

Dr. Quintanales was hired to revive the college’s struggling program in Latin American Studies, something she achieved with great success. She worked tirelessly to update the curriculum and proposed and taught many new courses—most of them still offered by the LATI program. For much of her career, Dr. Quintanales served as coordinator of the LATI academic program, and she was a strong supporter of Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latinx students and initiatives.

Dr. Quintanales maintained an active interdisciplinary scholarly and creative agenda in Latin American and U.S. Latinx studies, regularly presenting her work at the Latin American Studies Association annual congress and at various national and international conferences. She published both scholarly and creative pieces, including an entry in the foundational anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. She was also an editor and contributor to the Latina Feminist Group’s anthology Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios.

Mirtha loved teaching as much as she loved New York City. She traveled several times to Cuba, her homeland, and planned to continue doing so in the future.

The LATI faculty will miss Mirtha’s strong personality, cleverness, sharp humor, and sweet tooth.

David Blackmore and Virginia Ochoa-Winemiller

Professor and Associate Professor

New Jersey City University

Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies program