Matias Guillermo, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Modern Languages at Xavier University, died on February 5, 2011 at Saint Margaret Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 86 after a lengthy illness. Dr. Vega was born on February 10, 1924 in Santiago de Cuba, Republic of Cuba, the son of Matias Cancio Vega Aguilera, a pioneer in Cuban radio, and the former Pura Pelegrino. He attended the University of Havana where he was awarded a Doctorate in Social Sciences and Public Law in 1948, and subsequently received a Certificate in French Language and Civilization from the University of Paris. After teaching in Cuba, Dr. Vega came to Xavier in 1954 and taught Spanish and French language and literature for 40 years, serving for years as the Chairman of the Department of Modern Languages. A dedicated and popular teacher and innovator, he was instrumental in the development of Xavier's language laboratory and established study programs abroad for Xavier students. Notably, Dr. Veg a organized a student exchange program with the Universidad Javeriana in the Republic of Colombia, and was honored with the rank of Caballero in its Orden Universidad Javeriana. In recognition of his achievements, Dr. Vega served as Grand Marshall at Xavier's Commencement in 1994. The Matias G. Vega Spanish Award is awarded annually to the Xavier University senior who demonstrates the highest linguistic achievement in Spanish and interest in Hispanic culture. After retirement Dr. Vega cultivated lifelong interests in music and literature. Dr. Vega was a past president of the Panamerican Society of Cincinnati. Dr. Vega is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Colette Lafosse, of Cincinnati; three sons, Matias, of Westport, Connecticut; Patrick, of Virginia Beach, Virgina; and Michel, of North Miami, Florida; four grandchildren, Daniele, of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Alexandra, of New Haven, Connecticut; and Gabriel and Marcel, of North Miami, Florida; two stepgrandch ildren, Samantha Fequiere, of Glendale, Arizona, and Timothy Martin Banks, of Monahans, Texas; a brother, Cesar, of Miami, Florida; and a sister, Pura, of Coral Gables, Florida. Services will be held at Flagler Memorial Park, 5301 West Flagler Street, Miami, Florida 33134 on February 12, 2011 at 11:00am. Remembrances may be directed to the Matias G. Vega Spanish Award at Xavier University, 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45207-7740. Condolences and tributes at rohdefuneral.com
Published by The Cincinnati Enquirer from Feb. 9 to Feb. 10, 2011.