In Memoriam: Retired Professor María Luisa Osorio

Professor María Luisa Osorio, long time faculty member in the Hispanic Studies Department, died on October 24, 2012, at the age of 88.

María Luisa Osorio was born in Havana and became an ardent supporter of the Cuban Revolution.  She first visited to the United States in the 1940s on a fellowship to study English.  Her original field of research focused on the novels of the Mexican Revolution.  During her years at UMass Boston, however, she worked on contemporary Peninsular Spanish literature, with a special interest in fiction by women.

She was married to Spanish sculptor Miguel Gusils, whom she met in Paris while she was there on a grant from the United Nations and he was living there in exile.  Because he could not return to Spain, they came to the United States in the early 1950s.  Professor Osorio taught at Boston University before coming to UMass Boston in 1967.  She is remembered as a dedicated mentor to young scholars.

At the time of her retirement in 1995 the department created a prize that honors Professor Osorio’s commitment to teaching.  The prize recognizes academic excellence in graduating Spanish majors who have a special commitment to literature by women writers.  Professor Osorio was proud the prize and often circulated the annual prize citations to her friends.

Professor Osorio made her home Cambridge a gathering place for literary “turtulias,” which were attended by most Spanish and Latin American writers who visited the Boston area.

Department Chair Ann Blum spoke with María Luisa shortly before her death. They talked about the department’s new name and major:  María Luisa expressed her pride and satisfaction in these changes and congratulated the department on bringing them to fruition.


The Department of Latin American and Iberian Studies extends condolences to her family and friends.

“Dare to Explore the World”: Celebrating the Latin American and Iberian Studies Department

On October 15, friends of the Latin American and Iberian Studies Department gathered to celebrate the department’s new identity and innovative programs. Guests included university and College of Liberal Arts administrators, retired faculty, current faculty and students.

The event, sponsored by the Office of International and Transnational Affairs, opened with welcoming remarks from Chancellor J. Keith Motley and Provost Winston Langley. They highlighted both the department’s exciting trans-disciplinary innovations and its long history of commitment to outreach to diverse communities and constituencies in the Commonwealth and around the world.


UMB Hosts and Distinguished Guests

Among the notable features of the new major are a track in Translation Studies, one of the few such undergraduate programs in the country, and for the first time at UMass Boston, a major track in Latin American Studies.

 Alumni panelists Tina Everberg, Diego Mansilla, Pamela Cataldo and Patty Chouinard

 The celebration featured a panel of department alumni, who spoke of the many ways that their studies have shaped their careers.  The panel also included perspectives on Latin America and the Atlantic world “Ten Years from Now,” offered by Fernando Mell Barreto, Consul General of Brazil in Boston, Mónica Pinzón Bueno, Consul General of Colombia in Boston, and João Caixinha, Education Office of the Consulate General of Portugal in Boston. Their remarks focused on the importance of language study as a gateway to career opportunities in their countries.

Alumni panelists Audy Ramirz, Addie LeBeouf and Ian Gold

Assistant Chancellor Theresa Mortimer, a long-time member of the department, closed the program with remarks that both celebrated the department’s past and pointed to the future.

We thank all who participated and attended for their contributions to the success of the event.

 Professor Jean-Philippe Belleau with alumnae and guests

 Professor Valéria Souza, João Caixinha and Provost Winston Langley at the reception