Harry Peter Pachon, professor of public policy and expert on Latino politics and policy, died Friday of complications from aspiration pneumonia and Parkinson’s disease after several months in the hospital. He was 66.
USC School of Policy, Planning and Development Dean Jack H. Knott sent an email to faculty and students in the school Saturday.
“Harry was a kind and generous person and a wonderful and beloved friend and colleague to many at USC and in the broader Latino Community,” Knott said in the email. “He will be dearly missed as a friend and colleague, and his legacy of extraordinary contributions to Latino politics and policy at a crucial period in the development of the Latino Community in America will be remembered always.”
Pachon last taught at USC in fall 2010.
Knott said Pachon was “an effective and well-liked teacher who inspired his students.”
He also worked for the USC Center for Urban Affairs as a National Endowment for the Humanities postdoctoral fellow between 1973 and 1974.
Pachon was the principal investigator for several million dollars of externally funded research grants and contracts, including an evaluation of children’s coverage programs for The California Endowment and one for a program promoting minority and low-income employment in construction projects for the Department of Transportation.
Pachon had served as the President of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute since 1993, and arrived at USC in 2003, when the center moved from Claremont Graduate University, where Pachon was the Luther Lee Professor of Public Policy.
“Under his leadership, TRPI grew into a civic research organization with national visibility and impact, making major contributions in the areas of immigration, education policy, and Latino politics and policy,” Knott said. “As director of TRPI, Harry had a tremendous impact on the Latino community, both locally and nationally.”
In 1983, he co-founded and served as chairman of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund.
Pachon was appointed to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans in 1997. He also received the Ohtli Award from the Mexican government that year for service on behalf of the Mexican immigrant community in the United States.
Pachon often presented expert testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives, House Senate and judiciary committees and several caucuses comprised of racial minorities. He also served as a consultant for the Carnegie, Ford, Kellogg, California Health Care and Feddie Mac foundations.
Pachon published four books, several book chapters and journal articles about Latino social capital, educational opportunities, political engagement, electoral behavior and racial justice.
He also served on the boards of several local organizations, including the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, Southern California Public Radio and the Education Advisory Committee of the Rand Corporation. In 2000, the NALEO Education Fund designated its naturalization assistance and civic participation activities as the “Harry P. Pachon Civic Education Program.”
After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from California State University Los Angeles, he earned his PhD in government from Claremont Graduate School.
Pachon is survived by his wife, Barbara, and their children. The School of Policy, Planning and Development said in the email it would inform community about the details of his memorial service.