When Professor Robert Giron announced that he would retire this past August after 31 years as a member of the English and ESL (ELAP) department faculties on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus, his fellow faculty members tried to envision the English and Reading Departments without him. Since his arrival on campus in August 1986 when the department was known as the English, Reading, ESL, Foreign Language, and Philosophy Department, and his election as its first chair in 1992, there have been many changes in faculty, on the campus itself, and in the student body. However, one thing will remain a constant: the lasting impact of Professor Giron. Through the establishment of the Robert L. Giron Global Humanities Lecture Series, Professor Giron has ensured that his thirst for knowledge will be associated in perpetuity with the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus, thereby enriching the lives of faculty, staff, students, and the Takoma Park/Silver Spring communities.
He decided he wanted to become a teacher but for adult-aged students after substituting in the public school system, mostly middle school. Professor Giron attended Southern Illinois University-Carbondale for graduate school and discovered that teaching college students from various places was the place for him.
One cannot predict the reaction audience members will have from participating in a lecture
His love of teaching students from around the world was the reason for establishing the lecture series. Professor Giron specifically recalls participating in a Global Humanities Institute-sponsored trip to China with Montgomery College colleagues. “I knew then,” he said, “that the lecture series would be globally focused.” Not surprising, considering that he studied linguistics and focused on English, but also world languages such as Spanish, French, Chinese and Russian.
Noting the lasting impact various lectures have had on him, Professor Giron said he wanted to give others access to these same educational opportunities. “One cannot predict the reaction audience members will have from participating in a lecture. As someone who has listened to countless speakers and has come away positively affected by what I learned, I know that the outgoing wave is powerful.” He also knew that he wanted the lecture series to reach a broad audience. “My vision,” he said, “is for students, my colleagues, and the community to have the opportunity to hear from visiting professors, writers, poets, and even actors, who will share their knowledge and vision.”
Before arriving on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus, Professor Giron lived in many places while he pursued his education–both inside and outside of the classroom: Ann Arbor, El Paso San Antonio, and Austin. In the summer of 1982 he visited Washington, D.C., for the first time and fell in love with it. Not only did he decide to move across the country, but he also made a commitment to himself to try something outside of the college environment, so he began working in the editing and publishing field. His love for teaching, however, was strong and he found himself back in the classroom at George Washington University, where he worked until 1986. It was that year that he discovered Montgomery College and the rest, as they say, is history.
Stepping away from the demands of a college professor will allow Professor Giron to focus his time and energy on Gival Press, which he established in 1998. With over 100 books/e-books already published in English, Spanish, and French, and with more to come, including two projects he has in the works with Montgomery College colleagues, he will focus his time and energy on his literary press and his own writing. He also looks forward to having time to read for pleasure and to travel with his spouse, who will retire next June. Although Professor Giron’s physical presence will be greatly missed, his connection to the College lives on through the establishment of the Robert L. Giron Global Humanities Lecture Series.