History of the Department

History of the Department

In the Fall of 1967 Professors Keller, McCrary, Reedy, Jones, J., and Jones, M., Sturm, H., and Sturm, S., joined the staff of the University of Kentucky from the University of North Carolina to form the Department of Spanish and Italian, now Department of Hispanic Studies. At that time only Professor Gerardo Sáenz represented Spanish Studies at the University at the senior staff level. Also transferring from UNC were some twenty five graduate students all of whom were engaged in work leading either to the Ph.D. or M.A. degree and all of whom were experienced teaching assistants. In addition to this number some eight new graduate students were added to the departmental rosters. Thus all programs, activities, and achievements of this Department date from that year. The M.A. and Ph.D. programs as they were initially set forth reflected the collective experience of the above named faculty members whose careers included service at the Universities of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and Illinois. In a word, the department incorporated the best ideas from all of these institutions with specific ideas of its own. In the 1966 Carter Report, the Spanish half of the Department of Romance Languages of the University of North Carolina, comprised primarily of the seven named individuals above, was rated sixth in the nation, preceded by California (Berkeley), Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Harvard in that order. (Source: Departmental Files, 1974 Report).

The Department of Hispanic Studies is proud of this legacy and is committed to maintaining its excellence. The Department has a reputation for the quality of its students, for its plurality of theoretical approaches to the study of Peninsular and Spanish American literatures and cultures, and for its vibrant intellectual environment.

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