College of Environmental Design alumnus José Antonio Arce (B.A. Arch '74, M.Arch '76) passed away on April 2, 2018 at the age of 70. Arce was born in Chihuahua, Mexico on August 22, 1948. At the age of five, Arce moved with his family to California.
Arche grew up in Colusa, California where he spent his time serving as an altar boy and working as the town’s paperboy. Arce left Colusa at the age of 17 and moved to New York City, where he became heavily influenced by the anti-war and civil rights movements.
His objections to the Vietnam War resulted in an FBI case officer assigning him to “the worst job in the worst place in the worst city” as an orderly at LA County General Hospital. After concluding his service, Arce went on to earn his Masters of Architecture from UC Berkeley.
While at UC Berkeley, Arce co-founded the Chicano Architecture Student Association (CASA). He was also the coordinator of the Chicano Library, developing what became known as the Chicano Classification System.
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Arce began a career with Citibank which lasted 28 years. Arce rose to Director of Finance and Operations and shaped the bank's community development initiatives.
Arce also served as the planning director at the Spanish Speaking Unity Council, co-founded a community planning and architecture firm and the Fruitvale Credit Union, and was Chair of the Oakland Planning Commission.
Arce was an avid volunteer and served on numerous boards including the Bay Oaks Soccer Club, Earned Assets Resource Network, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, Marcus Foster Educational Institute, and Vital Healthcare Capital. He also had a passion for mentoring and helped many young people begin careers in finance and community development.