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Staff Spotlight on Marciano Perez Fall 2006


Our first staff spotlight features Marciano Perez. Marciano is in his fifth year of service as Sixth College's Dean of Residential Life.


  • Food: Mexican
  • Book: Anything by John Grisham
  • Music: Pop and Top 40. I love Mariah Carey and Kelly Clarkson. I watch "American Idol," so any of those folks.
  • Movie: "A Few Good Men," "The Color Purple," and "The Contender"
  • Car: Bright yellow 1980 Monte Carlo
  • Sport: I'll watch any sport. I love sports! I even TIVO volleyball!
  • Where did you grow up, and what was it like there?
  • I grew up in Gary, Indiana, so I'm from the Midwest. I grew up right in downtown, in the inner-city. The racial makeup of the city is primarily African-American and Latino. It's pretty poverty-stricken. It's just really a rough neighborhood, very different from here.

    I came to San Diego 7 years ago. I did my undergrad in Ohio, then I worked for 5 years outside of Illinios, moved back to Indiana to do my master's degree, went to UC Davis for 2 years, and then came to San Diego.
  • Tell us about a memorable moment in your life, a time you will never forget.
  • There are 3 things I can think of: getting married, the birth of my two daughters, and graduating with my master's degree. My master's was really about doing something for my family and paving the way for folks that didn't know what it was like to get a college degree let alone a master's degree. My parents were there, Evette's parents were there, and my grandmother even flew in from Puerto Rico.
  • How did you meet your wife, and what drew you to her?
  • We grew up together, so I've known her my entire life. We lived just one block from each other. Our families knew each other long before that from Puerto Rico. We went to elementary school together, to the same church, and traveled in the same circles. We didn't start dating until college.
  • How would you describe your undergraduate years? How do you think the undergraduate experience has changed since you were an undergrad?
  • I went to a small, private liberal arts college in Ohio called Denison University. There were only 2,100 students on campus. My experience was eye-opening. I had come from Gary, Indiana, and like I said; I grew up in the inner-city. Denison was predominantly white, upper-middle class. I went there because I got a full scholarship and didn't want my parents to have to pay for anything. It took a lot of learning about myself and other folks to make it there.

    Compared to when I was an undergrad, there are a lot more opportunities for students. But I think the thing that hasn't changed is the fact that students have to make the most of this experience; you have to work hard, set priorities, and take risks. You go through a growth process where you learn about what you truly believe. We question things our parents taught us and things we learned in previous years at school, and think about how we are going to use this information. It's really about thinking differently.
  • What have you discovered about Sixth College students in the past 5 years?
  • Sixth College students are very passionate about the college. When we first started, most students got placed here and didn't really understand a lot about the writing program or our Sixth College mission. Now, more that ever, students are taking an interest in the college and striving to get the most out of their Sixth College experience.

    I also think that we have one of the most socially conscious groups of students that I have ever worked with. When you think about the projects that they are doing with the Practicum, the community service they do with the RA programs, and the volunteer organizations that they are part of, it's amazing.
  • What have you learned about yourself in the past 5 years?
  • I've learned a lot about flexibility, organizational change, and building relationships. When I first started at Sixth College, I was afraid of change. Many things change here because we are so new and still developing and testing programs. I found that I have been resilient in these times of change. It's definitely easier when looking at change to see it not just as change but as an opportunity to grow.

    The question I get asked a lot having also worked at Thurgood Marshall College is which one is better. I always say I feel like I have learned so much in the time that I've been at Sixth College, more that I would have at TMC because TMC was more about sustaining things and here it's more about creating and implementing. I think this has been the most exciting part about being here. It's wonderful to work in an environment you know will not stagnate. There is some really cool energy here. It's different and exciting, and we know that folks think we're a little bit crazy for the way we do things or for the risks we take - but I just say that that is the Sixth College way. Anyway, what does that really mean? It really just means we're risk-takers. Sometimes we'll fail, but we'll pick ourselves right back up and keep going.
  • You live and work on campus. How do you separate your personal life from your professional life?
  • I do it with help and guidance from my family. It's not easy, and I still struggle. There are times when it's 5:30 or 6 p.m. and I get a call: "Daddy when are you going to come home?" One thing I really like is that I feel I can take my girls to a lot of events and things that we have planned. They enjoy coming out and meeting students. In terms of living on campus, our Sixth College students are always very respectful of my house. When a student knocks on my door, it is something that is serious.
  • On the lighter side, we picked out a fun question for you. If you joined the circus, what act would you most want to perform and why?
  • I like being the clown. I just told someone the other day that I made a mean clown a couple of years ago for Halloween. I enjoy goofing around and making people laugh. I also think that people who do the clown make-up are very artistic.
  • Again on the lighter side, a former Sixth College student wanted to ask you if there is anything you are afraid of. I'm terrified of animals, so you will rarely see me petting an animal. I have this fear of getting bitten, scratched, or attacked! On a side note, a few years out of college, I took a job at the Humane Society because I thought it would be a good way to face my fears. It lasted one week. I let a dog escape! The dog started jumping up at me, and I panicked and dropped the leash, and it ran away. It was a terrible, terrible experience.

- By Beverly Gallagher

For more information, contact Lynne McMullin.