Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1996-1997 index

Distributed April 10, 1997
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

Four honorary degrees will be presented at `Day of Spanish Language'

Brown University is celebrating "A Day of Spanish Language" April 28. Honorary degrees will be presented to Rosario Ferré, Puerto Rican writer and poet; Carlos Fuentes, Mexican novelist and author; Victor García de la Concha of the Universidad de Salamanca and the Royal Spanish Academy; and Jesús de Polanco, publisher of Spain's leading newspaper.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown University will celebrate "A Day of Spanish Language" Monday, April 28, at 11 a.m. with the presentation of four honorary degrees and remarks by one of the honorees, author Carlos Fuentes. The ceremony, which will be held in Sayles Hall, is open to the public.

The recipients of the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters are:

Rosario Ferré: One of the most important contemporary Puerto Rican writers, Ferré is a well-known novelist, poet and essayist, appreciated for her work in the Puerto Rican communities in both the Island and the United States. The author of many books, she has recently started to write fiction also in English. Her novel The House on the Lagoon was nominated this past year for the National Book Award.

Carlos Fuentes: Mexican novelist and intellectual, Fuentes for the last several years has been a professor-at-large in Brown's Department of Hispanic Studies. His last books are La frontera de cristal, a collection of short stories, and New Mexican Time, a series of essays. This year he also is being honored by the Brazilian government with its highest decoration, and by the Universidad de Puerto Rico with a doctoral degree.

Victor García de la Concha: A scholar of many accomplishments and fundamental critical works, García de la Concha is a professor at the Universidad de Salamanca and the secretary of the Royal Spanish Academy. His many books are on the Spanish mystics, the avant-garde, and contemporary poetry. He is the editor of Insula and the director of important series of scholarly texts, as well as one of the writers of the acclaimed television series on Teresa de Jesús, the Spanish mystic.

Jesús de Polanco: Spanish lawyer and businessman and chairman of PRISA, a holding of media and communications that publishes El Pais, the leading Spanish newspaper, Polanco is also chairman of the Fundación Santillana and co-director of the School of Journalism Foundation, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Polanco is being honored for his innovative contribution to the Spanish culture in modern communications and his creative involvement in cultural relations between Spain and Latin America.

Honorary degrees to be presented by Brown University are authorized by the Board of Fellows and are conferred during ceremonies on the Brown campus. The University does not award honorary degrees in absentia or by proxy. (On April 4, a National Court judge forbade Polanco to leave Spain from April 25 through May 5 because he might be called to give testimony during that time.)

The University is celebrating "A Day of Spanish Language" in honor of its Department of Hispanic Studies, which has a distinguished national and international reputation. The department was ranked third in faculty quality and first in Ph.D. programs in the last national ranking of graduate studies departments conducted by the National Research Council, in Washington, D.C.

The University's resources for the discipline are particularly rich. The John Carter Brown Library is world famous for its colonial Latin American holdings, and its International Fellows Research Program and Lecture Series make the library an important center for colonialists in all fields. The Annmary Brown Library offers incunabula and editions from great early presses, and the John Hay Library houses a special collection of Latin American poetry.

Every year the department invites renowned scholars and creative writers to lecture. The newly created position of the Andres Bello Visiting Professor brings a Venezuelan scholar to the department on a regular basis.

The department also has an extensive research program with top Mexican universities. In addition, The Mexican Project, directed by Prof. Julio Ortega, has organized at Brown a series of colloquia with Mexican writers and scholars.