(Lamar press release)
Lamar University has honored Catalina Castillon, associate professor of English and modern languages, as the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer for 2013.
“Hispanic Literary Heritage: An American Experience” will be the topic of her lecture, sponsored by ExxonMobil, to be presented this fall in the University Theatre at a date to be announced. The Lamar University Faculty Senate will host the lecture, which is open to the public without charge.
Castillon is the 27th recipient of the honor – one of the highest accorded a Lamar faculty member. A committee of faculty, staff, students and community representatives makes the selection.
A resident of Beaumont, Castillon has been a member of the Lamar faculty since 1991.
“The fact that I was chosen is an incredible honor,” Castillon said. “I hope to live up to the committee’s expectations – and go beyond. I believe my topic is very up to date and accessible to the general public . . . I want to make it entertaining and not just informative. People who come can definitely expect to see something that is extremely cultural.”
Castillon wrote in her proposal: “Hispanic literary heritage is a cultural treasure in the United States that receives little attention. However, when learning about it, we acquire a sense of the American experience. Hispanics in the United States have transformed the culture of this country while contributing to its development . . . It is a heritage that contributes to, enriches and embodies what it means to be American.”
She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but grew up in Spain, then returned to the U.S. after receiving a scholarship to Mount Holyoke College.
Castillon earned the doctor of philosophy in Hispanic literature and linguistics from the University of Houston in 2007. She has three other degrees: the master of arts in Hispanic literature and linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, master of science in deaf studies/habilitation from Lamar and a law degree from the University de Seville in Spain. In addition, Castillon earned a certificate of general studies, with distinction, from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.
Her Lamar honors include the University Merit Award, College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award, two Distinguished Teaching Bonus Awards and listing in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. She is a partner/representative, consultant and participant in the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2012-13 “Big Read” project in Southeast Texas. The Lamar University Modern Languages Competition honored Castillon with an award for “Outstanding Contribution and Dedication.” She earned a Scholar-in-Residence Grant to study Galician folklore and the unedited work of Cipriano Torre Enciso from the Fundacion Torre Pujales in Spain.
Memberships include Sigma Delta Pi national collegiate Hispanic honor society and Phi Beta Delta honor society for international scholars, which she serves as president of Lamar’s Beta Xi Chapter.
Castillon is author of the upcoming monographic volume, On Galician Folklore, and co-editor of two other books, as well as having written book chapters and scholarly articles. She has more than two-dozen presentations to her credit. Other professional activities include service as research director for the Beck Scholarship and McNair Scholars programs and Honors Program students at LU. She is sponsor and organizer of Lamar’s Hispanic Cultural Series.
James Esser, university professor of psychology, was the 2012 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. Other honorees, in addition to James Esser, have been Donna Birdwell, anthropology; Keith Carter and Jerry Newman, art; Richard Harrel, biology; George Irwin, physics; Rafael Tadmor, chemical engineering; Jean Andrews, deaf studies/deaf education; Jim Jordan and Jim Westgate, earth and space sciences; R.S. “Sam” Gwynn and Jim Sanderson, English; Kenneth Rivers, French; William Pampe, geology; John Carroll, Ronald Fritze, John Storey, J. Lee Thompson and Naaman Woodland, history; Dianna Rivers, nursing; Joe Pizzo, physics; Terri Davis, political science; Dorothy Sisk, professional pedagogy; and Christine Bridges-Esser, Spanish.