College of Humanities Newsletter, Volume 9, Issue 1

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Message from Humanities Dean Elizabeth A. Say

Elizabeth A. Say, Ph.D.Elizabeth A. Say, Ph.D.
CSUN Alum 1981

At this season of the year, we are often encouraged to remember all the many blessings we enjoy and to also remember those who may not be as fortunate. As I look over this issue of the College of Humanities Newsletter, I recognize that here at CSUN we have both great riches and great need. Our riches come in the form of our outstanding academic programs, excellent faculty and staff, enthusiastic and motivated students, and dedicated volunteers and donors. This issue highlights the 15th anniversary of the Central American Studies program, the only such program in the country. Attending this celebration I was impressed by the commitment of faculty and students alike. That twin commitment was again in evidence at Lit Crawl LA: NoHo, where faculty and students from our Creative Writing program found voice. We also interview our illustrious Humanities alumnus William Covino, now president of sister campus Cal State Los Angeles, whose commitments to diversity and equal access reflect his own experiences as a first generation college student. And we recognize this year’s Humanities Volunteer Service Awards recipients, devoted CSUN supporter Earl Greinetz and Chicana/o Studies grad Griselda Corona; their continued contributions most certainly enrich us. Finally, Religious Studies and Philosophy grad Orlando Avila’s story reminds us that great riches and great need may go hand-in-hand. Avila struggled to complete two degrees while fulfilling his responsibilities to his family. A generous donor made his dreams possible. As you reflect back on 2014, I encourage you to find ways to invest your time, talents, or treasures in the College of Humanities. ◊

The Central American Studies Program Turns 15

Submitted by Professor Beatriz Cortez

Central American Studies students at the 15th Anniversary event.Central American Studies students at the 15th Anniversary event. From left to right: David Valenzuela, Karen Bonilla, Karen González, Carol Paniagua, Luzita Pineda, Benjamin Bivian, Brenda Moreno, Jessica Duran, Hayle Rudas

In 1999 enthusiastic faculty and students launched the nation’s first Central American Studies Program. Professors Douglas Carranza Mena and Beatriz Cortez would soon join this program. Housed in the College of Humanities, it remains the only North American program devoted to the interdisciplinary study of Central American cultures, ethnicities, experiences, and worldviews. On September 19 the program inaugurated a year of events commemorating its 15th anniversary. Professors Carranza Mena and Cortez reflect on this important milestone.

Dr. Beatriz Cortez: I got here when the program was about to be inaugurated. I was 29 years old and had recently graduated with a doctorate in Latin American literature from Arizona State University, and had just spent a year as an assistant professor in my first teaching job at Wayne State University in Detroit. I met Professor Douglas Carranza about a month before; he was then finishing his doctorate at the University of California in Santa Barbara, and we happened to participate in the same congress in El Salvador. CAS Turns 15 continues