Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca is principal scholar of the Chicano Renaissance and is considered founder of Chicano literary history with Backgrounds of Mexican American Literature, first study in the field. His essay on â€œThe Chicano Renaissanceâ€ is a landmark text in the Chicano literary movement.
He studied at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Texas, and the University of New Mexico where he received his Ph.D. in English (British Renaissance Studies and Linguistics). He completed post-doctoral studies in Management and Planning for Higher Education at the Harriman Institute of the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. He studied biblical Hebrew at the Texas Institute for Classical Studies.
Author of numerous books, monographs, studies and hundreds of scholarly, critical, public affairs and creative pieces, his articles, essays, fiction, and poetry appear in leading national and international publications.
Among many honors, awards, and distinctions, he is recipient of the 2007 Letras de Aztlan Award from the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (Tejas Foco) for his â€œlifetime work and achievement in Chicano scholarship and community activismâ€; and recipient of the 2005 Patricia and Rudolfo Anaya Critica Nueva Award from the University of New Mexico for his contributions to Chicano literary history, theory, and criticism. He is also recipient of the Presidio La Bahia Award from the Kathryn Stoner Oâ€™Connor Foundation and the Sons of the Republic of Texas for Contemporary Perspectives on the Old Spanish Missions of San Antonio, best work on the Spanish Colonial period of Texas Letters.
He was for many years a public school teacher of French As founding director he organized the Chicano Studies Program at the University of Texas at El Paso (first in the state). His military service includes a wartime hitch with the Marine Corps (Platoon Sergeant) and an Air Force assignment (Major, USAFR) as a Threat Analyst in Soviet Studies.
At Western New Mexico University Dr. Ortego is a member of the Chicana/Chicano and Hemispheric Studies (CCHS) Department and teaches courses on the History and Philosophy of Education, Chicano Literature and Critical Theory, Second Language Acquisition, and for faculty a Professional Development course on Publication. He is also faculty advisor to The Mustang student newspaper.