Distinguished Scholar Won’t Rest on His Laurels

Jose Suarez

2010 Winchester Distinguished Scholar Jose Suarez

In keeping with his past, Jose Suarez, the 2010 recipient of UNC’s prestigious Winchester Distinguished Scholar Award, won’t be resting on his laurels.

Instead, he’ll continue the scholarly investigation and intellectual growth that has been a hallmark of his nearly 40 years as an educator.

"Researching helps me be a better teacher," Suarez said. "I’m reading, I’m thinking, I’m staying intellectually in shape so that when I’m in the classroom I’m prepared. I know the subject matter and can share different perspectives with my students."

The Winchester award, created in 1972 through an endowment by Emeritus Professor A.M. Winchester, recognizes a faculty or staff member who’s been at UNC more than five years and has demonstrated outstanding scholarly performance on a consistent basis throughout his or her academic career. Its recipient is selected by the Faculty Research and Publication Board of the Office of Sponsored Programs.

Suarez’s impressive scholarly accomplishments started when he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida when he was 18 and his master’s when he was 20. He became a college professor at 21.

He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Romance Languages from the University of New Mexico and is now internationally known for his literary criticisms of Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking authors.

He’s the author of four books, two book chapters, more than 40 scholarly articles and 12 book reviews.

In 1998, Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, awarded Suarez the Cross of the Order of Alphonse X in recognition of his research in and dissemination of Spanish culture and literature, and in 2001, the Portuguese publication Gente Ilustre (Famous People) named him one of the most renowned scholars on Portugal.

His two Fulbright research awards include one to Portugal and one to South America, and he also received a scholarship from Portugal’s Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Language for International Business and of the international cultural/literary journal Confluencia, and currently serves as president of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association.

Suarez came to UNC in 1999 to serve as head of the Hispanic Studies program, a position he held until 2005, he continued to actively pursue his research, according to Interim Director of the School of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies Joy Landeira, who nominated Suarez for the Winchester award.

In her nomination, Landeira said when she asked Suarez why he was still so focused on research even though he was an administrator, he replied that he felt he had a duty to be a role model for faculty.

Suarez returned to the classroom full time in 2005, and continues to serve as a role model for his colleagues, and his students.

- Gary Dutmers

Of Note:
Suarez was honored for that award at a March 29 luncheon that kicked off UNC’s annual celebration of academic excellence. For more information on Academic Excellence Week, visit http://www.unco.edu/hsl/aew.html.