Dr. Filiberto Murguia
Murguia served as executive director for the Council for the Spanish Speaking for more than three decades.
By H. Nelson Goodson
August 21, 2013
Milwaukee, WI - On Tuesday, Dr. Filiberto Murguia, 82, passed away after losing his battle with cancer. Murguia was admitted to the Zilber Hospice several weeks ago after deteriorating from liver cancer, his daughter Carmen Murguia announced. Dr. Murguia served as executive director for the Council for the Spanish Speaking, Inc., also known as El Centro Hispano or Spanish Center for more than three decades.
In 2010, the Council for the Spanish Speaking, Inc. renamed the Loyola Academy High School campus, 1645 S. 36th St., to the Dr. Filiberto and Carmen Murguia Campus. Carmen is Dr. Murguia's wife.
In 1964, El Centro Hispano became the first Latino serving non-profit community based organization in Milwaukee. A few years later, El Centro evolved into the Council for the Spanish Speaking, Inc., according to their website.
In 1973, Dr. Murguia became the CEO of the Spanish Center and then retired 30 years later in 2003.
Murguia's daughter in 2010 during her father's dedication ceremony of the Loyola Acadamy renaming said, that her father first came to the U.S. from Mexico and was using his brother's legal papers because he was undocumented and couldn't speak English. Just four months in the U.S., he was drafted by the military in his brother's name and served 60 months in the Korean War. He actually learned the Korean language first, before learning English. Soon after the war, he became a U.S. citizen and later became the CEO of the Spanish Center. When Murguia took over the Spanish Center in 1973, it had a budget of more than $200,000 and when he retired in 2003, the Council was operating on a budget of more than $5 million.
The Council operates on a yearly budget of more than $6.8 million (2007-2008) and manages six housing complexes for low income elders able to live independently. It operates an Adult Education Center, the Loyola Academy High School, Guadalupe Head Start (manages 7 Head Start locations) and a Family Resource Center at the Dr. Filiberto and Carmen Murguia Campus.