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Born in Mexico City on May 30, 1966, he studied at the
Instituto Científico y Literario in Toluca, Mexico and in the National School
of Medicine in Mexico City. He received his medical degree in 1909. He was a
military physician in Bacum, Sonora; Jalapa, Veracruz; and Guaymas,
Sonora. In 1915, he became a professor of physiology and clinical medicine
in the Facultad Nacional de Medicina and of biology, physiology, and human
physiology in the Escuela
Médico Militar. He became secretary
of the Faculty of Medicine (1917-21), member of the
Consejo Superior of the Department of
Health (1921-23), director of the medical school (1924-34), and Rector of the
National Autonomous University of Mexico (1934-35)
He was chosen Rector by university conservatives who were trying to prevent a leftist from taking control of the university. The government and leftist students and professor were advocating that UNAM become socialist. Without strong government backing and the funds that would have brought, Ocaranza could do little. Having been elected in September, 1933, he resigned in November, 1934. He would return to UNAM in 1945 when Mexican president Manuel Avila Camacho appointed him to the first governing board of UNAM. He wrote about his rectorship in La tragedia de un Rector, a book published in 1943.
As an historian, he published El Imperial Colegio de Indios de Santa Cruz de Tlaltelolco in 1934, Crónica de las Provincias Internas de la Nueva España in 1939, and Capítulos de Historia Franciscana in 1933-1934. He also wrote Juárez y sus amigos. His published his autobiography, Novela de un Médico, in 1940. Among his medical books were published Lecciones de Biología General, Fisiología Humana, Fisiología General, and Historia de la Medicina en México.