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Ricardo José

Ricardo Jose

 

December 2007

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War historian finds new research opportunity on his De Pere doorstep

History is alive for Ricardo Jose, visiting professor from the University of the Philippines. He lives it everyday in the classrooms at St. Norbert College and in his newfound De Pere community.

Through the Philippine Exchange Program, Jose (known as Rico to his friends) joined the St. Norbert College faculty in August and took up residence in De Pere. In the process, he’s not only been teaching students about history but has also furthered his research into World War II, courtesy of local veterans who have shared their stories, as well as statewide and national resources.

While his travels stateside will take him from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., Jose has uncovered some insightful World War II research right here in De Pere. He quickly learned that one of his neighbors served in the war, and he generously opened his doors to share his stories and memorabilia with Jose upon learning of his passion for the subject matter.

Jose learned that a local division was sent to the Philippines during the war and so there are a number of local veterans who can speak to what it was like to serve in his home country during wartime. “It’s such an opportunity for me to connect with the right people,” said Jose, who has been interviewing World War II veterans since he was a student, and has written and edited a number of books on the subject.

History—primarily World War II—is a passion that’s been consistent in Jose’s life since he was a grade school student in history class. Jose had also heard stories about the war—after which the United States granted the Philippines independence—from his uncles back in Manila. Those same uncles indulged him with books and other war-related items that “piqued my interest,” said Jose.

He went on to pursue history as an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of the Philippines and then worked on his doctorate at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. He has been a member of the University of the Philippines’ history department for 28 years, currently teaching about World War II as it relates to modern Asia and modern Philippine history.

At St. Norbert, he is teaching a Philippine studies course and a Modern East Asia history course. “Students are becoming more aware of their Filipino neighbors and more aware of what the Philippines is all about in the process,” he said. “And it’s such a growth opportunity for me to be here and to broaden my perspectives.”


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