Celestino Fernández served as professor of sociology at the University of Arizona for thirty-nine years until his retirement (July 2015). He has also served in several administrative positions at the University of Arizona, including the University's first Vice President for Undergraduate Education and Vice President for Academic Outreach and International Affairs, and as the founding Executive Vice President and Provost of Arizona International College. Professor Fernández also served as a university-wide faculty fellow. He taught courses and conducted research on various topics and issues pertaining to culture (including happiness and Mexican music), immigration, ethnic diversity, and education. Professor Fernández has published approximately fifty articles and book chapters on these topics; he has composed about as many "corridos" and served on an equal number of accreditation teams throughout the world.
Professor Fernández received both his MA and PhD in sociology from Stanford University. During the years 2000-2001, he served as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at the University of Phoenix. Professor Fernández has received wide recognition for his work. For example, he was honored by the American Association for Higher Education for his "Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education" and by the governor of Arizona for his commitment to "quality and excellence." He also received the "Distinguished Alumni Award" from his undergraduate alma mater, Sonoma State University. Professor Fernández has been the subject of three songs and two book chapters. In 2007, Professor Fernández was named University Distinguished Outreach Professor in recognition of his "exceptional service to the community, state, and nation."