Welcome Students and Friends!
My name is Teofilo F. Ruiz, but everybody calls me Teo. I was born in Cuba many (far too many) years ago. My family supported the Cuban revolution because the government that preceded Castro was a crude, violent, and terrible dictatorship. So I became a student representative of my municipality to the 26 of July movement, absolutely taken by this sense of the possibility of making changes in an unjust world. The reality, of course, is that at a certain age we should all think of transforming the world. Unfortunately, in most cases, the world changes us.
Revolutions have a life of their own, I got into trouble and in April of 1961, I ended up in prison for a while. I was released after a few weeks, and by that time I realized it was time to go. It was not until I arrived in Miami that had the sense of severing the ties to a place. At that time I thought the break was only temporarily. I believed that it was going to be very short period before I would be able to return to my home and to my family. I thought to myself: “this is only a question of a few weeks, a few months before we all return.” It turned into more than 50 years, but the memories are as alive in my mind today as they were then.
When people ask me, “What are you?” My first answer is I am a teacher, I teach. I am not a professor. I teach that’s what I do and that’s my calling. It is being a teacher that is important to me and this is what I try to tell the students. I love the students and it is what keeps me going.