Richard Morgan Szybist '90

Owner of Los Encuentros Centro Cultural Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Richard Morgan

“My experience at LAS enabled me to successfully transition to a fulfilling second career in Central America.”

Richard Morgan Szybist was born in Perth Amboy, NJ in 1942. He attended public schools there and in Sayreville NJ. He graduated from Rutgers University with a Sociology B.A. in 1964 and entered military service through the Reserve Officers Training Program (ROTC). He began writing for national military journals during a 24-year U.S. Army career that spanned peacetime duty in Europe, combat duty in Vietnam, and a range of assignments in the U.S. and Europe. During that time he earned an Education M.A. at Seton Hall University. His resumé for the period includes teaching posts at Rutgers University and Seton Hall University and field work for the Army Chief of Staff from the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Morgan left the military in 1988 and moved to Tucson, AZ where he completed graduate studies in Latin American affairs in 1989 through the LAS at the University of Arizona (UA), with a focus on the histories and cultures of Mexico and Central America. While there, he wrote grant-sponsored curriculum materials to support high school social studies teaching about Mexico. Afterwards, he taught Latin American studies in the undergraduate program at Pima County College (PCC) and guided cross-border tours into Mexico for the PCC and Cochise Count College Adult Education Programs. He wrote articles on the U.S.- Mexico frontier for regional publications and undertook research for his first book, A Guide to Historic Missions & Churches of the Arizona--Sonora Borderlands. This book, published in 1995, was acclaimed by the Arizona Daily Star as one of the year's best books on the U.S. Southwest.

Morgan moved to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala in 1998, where he has since focused on the history and cultural diversity of the Lake Basin. He has written numerous articles for REVUE magazine, Guatemala's English language tourism monthly and published three books on Lake Atitlan under the name of Richard Morgan Szybist. These books form a trilogy which collectively treat the natural and cultural history of Atitlan; fables and folktales of its Mayan inhabitants; and natural healing, with an emphasis on Mayan shamanism.

Morgan owns and operates Los Encuentros Centro Cultural in Panajachel at Lake Atitlan.


“My experience at LAS enabled me to successfully transition to a fulfilling second career in Central America”