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Hector C. Mireles, PhD

Pilot HCM
Cal Poly  Pomona Professor
Piano Man and Loving Husband
Tejano, Chihuahuense and German
Family Man

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Celebrating the Life of Hector C. Mireles

The story of the Physicist, Professor, Piano Man, Pilot and Family Man

Ascending in the academy, Hector would often introduce himself as coming from Texas. He did - a graduate of UT Austin, and his father and paternal grandparents Tejanos from Laredo. But actually, he was born on the other border in the upstate New York college town of Potsdam. However, many considered him German. He could lay on a thick Swabian accent that even Bavarians did a double take. Hector had the gift of a musical ear, taking up the piano at age 5. Singing followed, becoming a thespian for several musicals in high school, and later as a chorale tenor with the choir of St. Jacobi Kirche of Göttingen, and the Cathedral of Los Angeles.

Who was Hector

In his youth and as an adult, Hector spent much time in both Los Angeles and Chihuahua, home of his mother, his extended family, and where he met and married his wife of 13 years. Hector had many roles, but would describe his greatest as that of a family man. He was a loving husband and tireless doting father to his son and daughter. Hector was a charismatic leader for his kids many extracurricular activities, and was an active parent and devoted parishioner at their school, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Upland. It was not uncommon for Hector to jet back from an industry expo in say Italy, to present a physics lecture at Cal Poly, then shuttle his kids to German School before rushing off for the weekend scout outing, just before taking a family holiday in Chihuahua. In all of these realms, he was at the center of the activity... usually singing.

Family Man

Hector earned an A.S. degree from Bosco Tech (1985), B.S. from UC Irvine (1989), and Ph.D. from UT Austin (2000), joining the faculty at Cal Poly Pomona in 2002. He was elected Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2016. He was very proud that Cal Poly was a national leader in mentoring and preparing LatinX students for graduate study in the physical sciences, especially since his student experience was so challenging. As a sophomore he declared, "They are trying to weed me out, but they won't because I am not a weed!"

Academic Career

Here is How I Remember Him

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