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.

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