The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC remembers the impactful life of Spanish professor Dina Castillo

Courtesy of Dina Castillo’s Family.

Dina Castillo, described by her loved ones as an exceptional teacher and friend, passed away on Jan. 14 at the age of 69. 

Castillo was heavily invested in City College, teaching in the Spanish department since 1989 until she retired in 2019. She was also active in the Academic Senate and served as the chair of the School of Modern Languages for some time. She also brought more Latino culture to the campus by hosting a Dia de los Muertos celebration for 25 years. 

Castillo came to the country as an immigrant, speaking limited English, but putting in great dedication into her multiple roles at City College. When Castillo was a teenager,  she made tortillas from scratch and sold them to afford an education. 

Loving, soft, amazing, dedicated and loyal were only a few of the many words her best friend, Sonia Zuniga-Lomeli, described her to be.

“I never saw her feathers ruffle,” Lomeli said. She and Castillo had known each other since 1978. 

The two worked together at Westmont College and taught Spanish until Castillo eventually transferred to City College when a job opportunity opened up. Later, Lomeli joined City College after Castillo informed her of an open position, and the two were reunited. 

Paul Molloy, a former English as a second language professor, worked with the two closely during their time spent at City College. He described them as the ultimate best friends. 

“Every time he saw Dina and I, because we were always together, he would say ‘oh there comes tweedledee and tweedledum,’” Lomeli said.

Not only was Castillo loved by the faculty, but her students also held a great appreciation towards her. 

When Castillo’s home was being cleaned after her passing, letters from her previous students were discovered. The letters were filled with words of love and gratitude for all that the professor had done for them.

Spanish Professor Juan Casillas Núñez was another friend and faculty member who worked closely with Castillo. 

“These two ladies were a force when I came here, they were a force in our department,” Núñez said. “They really guided us through the tough times.” 

A service will be held in memory of Castillo at 11 a.m. on April 20 at the Winslow-Maxwell Overlook at City College.

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