|Rudy Vargas worked as MediaVision's executive producer for 17 years.|
Rudy Vargas, a longtime employee for I&IT Learning, died Thursday, June 4, from complications shortly after emergency surgery for a serious staph infection. He retired in December after working as MediaVision's executive producer for 17 years.
Vargas was popular among faculty and staff and served as a patient and cheerful adviser to students on the latest media technology.
“What strikes me most about him was his compassion,” says Karen Brzoska, associate director of I&IT Learning. “He was not only quick with a smile, but he was anxious to engage everyone in conversation, always genuinely asking, 'How are you? How's your family?' It was such a pleasure to know him and work with him.”
Before coming to Cal Poly Pomona, Vargas was an independent filmmaker and community activist. As a student at Cal State L.A., he advocated for the creation of a Chicano Studies Department and helped organize protest demonstrations against the Vietnam War. After graduation, he became the coordinator of the campus' newly created Educational Opportunity Program.
Vargas earned a master's of fine arts degree from UCLA's School of Film and Television in 1977. He then worked on a series of film and television projects, combining his commitment to social change with his skills in mass media. Some of his projects included: “Infinity Factory,” a public television series about mathematics; “Realidades,” which examined social and cultural issues in the Latino community; and the award-winning film “Una Nacin Bilingue” about bilingual education in public schools.
Vargas, a resident of Diamond Bar, is survived by his wife, Julene; his mother; five children; eight grandchildren; three brothers and three sisters.
Funeral services are scheduled for Tuesday, June 9, at Saint Denis Church in Diamond Bar. The viewing is at 9 a.m., followed by a memorial service at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the Vargas family asks that donations be made to Xela Aid, a nonprofit organization that runs schools in Guatemala. Vargas was a board member of that organization and produced a documentary film about one of the schools. For more information, visit www.xelaaid.org.