Francisco J. Zamarripa, PhD
Class of 1978
My family brought me into this country in 1951. My home language was only Spanish. During High School, I was a mediocre student because in those days we lived on the “other side” of the rail road track. I had a hard time getting anyone to help me become a better student. A couple of coaches actually laughed at me when I asked for help. So I finally figured it out. The only way to make it in life was to do it yourself, with God on your side. So to get what I needed, what I wanted, I had to leave the Rio Grande Valley. During those times, it was still hard for a Mexica-American to get ahead without a strong mentor. So even if it hurt leaving my family behind, for the future of my family, I left, not looking back, but a little sad. I Joined the Army during the Vietnam crisis.
After I left, I finally realized that if I was going to make it better, it was up to me, and that was the road I took, eventually obtaining a BA, MA, and Post grad degree.
Then I did what I always wanted to do and that was to fight racism and oppression where ever life took me. I was in Texas, Japan, Germany, Washington, D.C., Kentucky, California, and thanks to my new attitude, and the University of Oklahoma that gave me a chance, I did very well in combating discrimination, but this time, using professionalism and working within the government in official programs.
Later I went into counseling, worked with most of the Indian tribes in the USA, Alaska and Hawaii, and met a lot of good people that made my life worthwhile. I was happy as I was working with my "roots." I am 55% Native American. After shifting gears twice more, finally, I retired as an investigator working for EEOC in Dallas and later Houston.
Perhaps of importance to me was the research work that I did in the field of Substance Abuse and dependency. I used the concept of the Lily Tank, an isolation environment in which a person floats in a controlled environment under special conditions. I constructed a huge tank and discovered that a human being can produce similar effects as a person under the influence of drugs. This experience helped in allowing some addicts to withdraw by realizing that we can produce our own highs without drugs. I am now retired, but If I could I would continue with my experiments. I wanted to share this experience with you all for it may help someone sometime. This idea came about after taking Dr. Manning’s course on Human Relations, when he travelled to Germany to give us the instruction. He was instrumental in helping me implement innovative human relations and race relations programs in the Army during a critical time. We had a lot of racial tension during the Vietnam era, to the point of having riots in the Army and mutiny in the Navy. Due to OU and the Master’s Program, my superiors gave me a lot of control over how to manage problems as they arose. My program in Germany was recognized by the German magazine Der Spiegel and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Even Paul Harvey mentioned my program in the radio- to my surprise.
I basically did what I wanted to do, not thinking of the future, but thanks to God, at the end, everything fell in place, and I retired to fish in the Gulf of Mexico-oh, and to take care of my granddaughters and take out the trash.
Thank you to those of you who treated me kindly during our valuable school years. Some of you I knew since elementary school. I love you forever and may God bless you!
(2013) I got my DNA done by the National Geographic Genome Project. This was done to determine my origins from ancient times. I was able to trace how my ancestors traveled all the way from Africa to the Middle East, Northern Europe, Siberia, the Bering Strait, all the way through North America and finally into the farther reaches of South America. If people knew that humans are all related, perhaps, we could get rid of racism. It’s amazing, how ignorance separates us.
10/29/2013: Everyday becoming less on an intellectual and opening myself more to God. Trying not to question, "why" so much. Faith is the answer, because the more I study the roots of religion, the more that it all comes to full circle. The goal was always God the Father.
June 17, 2015 - getting closer and closer to that faithful bur hopefully great day when I will meet my maker. I am learning more about religion by studying the ancient Jewish customs of the first century. Learning how bad we interpreted and changed religion. Learning that some of what is says in the book actually means other things. But all in all, everything is cool. Stay well.
June 10, 2016.
Thanks to the University of Oklahoma that gave me an opportunity to obtain my Master’s Degree in 1978. Being in the Army it was difficult to be accepted by universities, but OU gave military personnel an opportunity of a lifetime. That alone, and the prestige that came with this degree opened doors for me. Most of all, It gave me the tools to effect change in a way that many people were empowered.
Posted on Wed, August 31, 2016
by Stacy Smith