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Memorial service set for professor

William Broz

During his tenure at the University of Texas Pan American, William Broz had a significant impact on the faculty, students and alumni who worked with him.

Broz, who served as an English education professor for eight years at UTPA, died on May 9. A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday in Jeffers Theatre in the Arts and Humanities building on the UTRGV Edinburg campus. Faculty, students, alumni and the community are invited to attend.

Broz was born in 1949 and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1972. In 1996, he earned his doctorate in English education from the University of Iowa and taught as a college professor at Western Illinois University, then at the University of Northern Iowa. In Fall 2007, he joined the University of Texas Pan American (now UTRGV), where he taught such courses as “Children’s and Adolescent Literature” and “Teaching Secondary School Literature.”

In 2011, Broz was awarded the New Faculty Mentoring Award from the UTPA Office of Faculty Affairs in recognition of his work. He also received English Journal’s 2002 Edwin M. Hopkins Award for the most outstanding article by a college professor. He co-edited the book, “Teaching Writing Teachers” (Heinemann, 2002).

Philip Zwerling, an associate professor who teaches creative writing at UTRGV, formed a bond and friendship with Broz over discussions of different forms of literature.

“He wasn’t just about teaching,” Zwerling said. “He was available for his students even after graduating. The thing I think worked so well for him was the fact that he was just a very understanding person.”

Myra Infante-Sheridan, a former lecturer at UTPA and now a graduate assistant at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, was part of Broz’s “Teaching Secondary Literature” course. Infante-Sheridan said she learned a lot from the English education professor and aims to implement the teaching methods he used when she was a student in her own teaching.

“He absolutely changed my life, I think he is the epitome of what a teacher is and should be,” she said. “The thing with Dr. Broz is that he loved teaching. His face would light up whenever he was talking about students, whenever he was talking about teaching,”

Amy Cummins, an associate professor of Literatures and Cultural Studies, shares the same perspective.

“There are numerous ways he impacted me from the very beginning,” Cummins said. “We worked together. He was also my mentor. Every time a question or issue comes up, I wish I could talk to Bill about this because Bill would know the answer to this. He was just very wise, caring and was taken too soon, but still had a great influence.”

Monica Sifuentes, a Weslaco High School teacher, was also a student in Broz’s “Teaching Secondary School Literature” class.

“In all honesty, he was a genuine person, and I mean that wholeheartedly,” Sifuentes said. “He understood what the teaching profession involved. … It involved people, truly caring for the individual, showing compassion and having their best interest in mind.”

Yemin Sanchez, a contemporary studies lecturer in the English Department, worked under Broz as he assisted her in a similar career path.

“I think he established a positive communication with everyone, which allowed individuals to feel important in every way,” Sanchez said. “To me that’s a gift, because not everyone has the ability to do that. I wish I could

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