Maria de Marin, PhD, and her husband, Dr. Raymundo Marin, established InterAmerican College in 1997 with $4,000 and only four students. During the early growth of the college, they were supported by the federal government with $4 million in grants and the number of enrollees rapidly increased. They also received recognition from international news sources and drew the attention of The Chronicle of Higher Education for the college’s emphasis on helping immigrants transfer their degrees, complete their education and adjust to living in the United States. Unfortunately, after 12 years, the college was taken over by a for-profit company and saw the end of the de Marins’ involvement with the institution.
Today, Dr. de Marin seeks to reestablish the college as InterAmerican University, having been able to reacquire the rights to the original nonprofit. She is currently involved in acquiring all the necessary local and state licenses, overseeing the reaccreditation process and writing grant proposals in support of the university. As she looks toward the future, Dr. de Marin hopes to bring on and train a strong group of administrative staff and faculty members for the university so that the dream of InterAmerican University can live on once she retires and is no longer there to guide it, though she intends to stay on as a consultant for as long as she is able.
Furthermore, Dr. de Marin hopes to continue working with the higher education preparation program that she founded in Mexico. Over the course of her career, she has done considerable work in Mexico, having spent time as a teacher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where she was the only faculty member with a history of teaching at the elementary through collegiate levels. In addition, Dr. de Marin served as a cultural exchange worker and developed a program with Amnesty International that helped 7,000 individuals with various documentation needs.
Born in Mexico, Dr. de Marin hails from a family of teachers on her father’s side. While her family didn’t have much by way of material wealth, her parents strove to give her a good education, and she earned a master’s degree in anthropology from the California State Polytechnic University in 1964. Certified in both K-12 education and administration, she later went on to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy in curriculum and instruction from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1997, a moment that she considers among the highlights of her career. To keep abreast of developments in the field of education, Dr. de Marin maintains professional affiliation with Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary organization for women educators.
Facing considerable racism early on in her education, Dr. de Marin has long been active politically and is a member of the Democratic Party. An activist since her college days, she helped to establish several political organizations in the San Diego, California, area. Drawing on her bilingual and bicultural background, she also lends her support to Mana de San Diego, one of the California chapters of Mana, A National Latina Organization, which supports Mexican American Women. Dr. de Marin has also found success as an author and spent time operating a publishing company alongside her husband.
Attributing much of her success to her work ethic, Dr. de Marin adheres to the aphorism, “God writes straight with crooked lines,” and has always remained flexible when obstacles stood in the way of her achieving her goals. She is also deeply grateful to her husband, an eighth-generation Texan who holds dual citizenship in the United States and Mexico, and all they have accomplished together as a team, balancing each other out while encouraging one another to create things that make a difference.