Dr. Alicia Giralt, Weber State University Spanish professor and coordinator for the Latin American studies program, passed away on June 1. Her nearly two decades of teaching, community resourcing and commitment to higher education left an impact on both the university’s foreign language department and students.
The news of Giralt’s passing, officially confirmed via WSU’s Facebook page, was met with comments praising her job done as a professor and condolences for her family.
Giralt’s life began on June 12, 1958, in Barcelona, Spain, born to Joan Giralt Ortolá and María Sánchez Peña.
Giralt always loved reading, a passion that reflected in her academic pursuits. Shortly after her departure from Spain, Giralt obtained her bachelor of arts in print journalism. Prior to her subsequent move to Ogden and teaching post at Weber State, Giralt received her master of arts in Spanish and her doctoral degree in Spanish-American literature.
Giralt’s WSU faculty page contains links to WSU’s Latin American studies page and the Women and Gender studies page and contains a number of her personal written works. These resources are glimpses into Giralt’s vision and passion for her students and her career.
Giralt conducted annual trips to Guatemala to help Maya women in their community, giving her students the chance to gain service experience while honing their fluency in Spanish.
Her commitment to both her students and her passion projects were rewarded with myriad teaching awards, such as the Higher Education Teacher-of-the-Year Award by the Utah Foreign Language Association, the John A. Lindquist Award for Community Involvement and the Outstanding Mentor Award.
Only a few months before her passing, Giralt released her book “Blooming out of Darkness: A Memoir about Cancer, Spirits, and Joy,” in which she writes about the love she had for her mother, her personal spiritual growth and her battle with cancer. The book is available via Amazon and Amazon Kindle services.
Giralt is survived by her husband, Tom Briggs, of Ogden. The pair had been together for nearly 20 years, raising four sons, Ryan, John, Larry and Jordi, as well as their two daughters, Sachiko and Madison. They have one grandchild, Maria. Giralt leaves her two sisters, Lourdis and Dr. Nuria Giralt.
Continuing to honor her memory, the family asks that contributions be made to the Alicia Giralt Scholarship fund, in coordination with Wells Fargo Bank, to assist low-income Spanish majors at WSU.