Dr Wilfred D. “Pepe” Samuels

It saddens me to have to share this information with you this morning. Our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Wilfred D. “Pepe” Samuels, passed this morning at 6:30 am. Pepe would have celebrated his 73rdbirthday this Friday. He was born on February 7, 1947 in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, to Lena and Noel Samuels. He earned his B.A. degree in English and Black Studies at the University of California, Riverside. In 1974, he went on to earn his M.A. degree in American Studies and African American Studies from the University of Iowa. He continued his education by receiving his Ph.D. in American Studies and African American Studies.

Pepe came to the University of Utah as a visiting Associate Professor in the Department of English and the Ethnic Studies program. Dr. Ron Coleman (former Associate Vice President of Diversity) always joked that Pepe was his hardest hire to land, taking him several years to finally get Pepe to commit to bringing his talents to the University of Utah. Pepe recently retired from the University of Utah after serving diligently as a dedicated community member since his arrival in 1987. Dr. Samuels served in the capacity as the director of the African American Studies Program several times and the coordinator and interim-coordinator of the Ethnics Studies Program. Pepe retired as a Full Professor in both English and Ethnic Studies as a gifted intellectual with at least five books and numerous scholarly articles. He was most known for his excellent research on Olaudah Equiano and Toni Morrison. 

Dr. Wilfred “Pepe” Samuels will be missed by many because of his warm personality and hospitality.

Services will be held this Friday, February 7th at noon at Calvary Baptist Church, 1090 South State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah. Rev. Davis will preside over the services.

Dr Willam Smith