At the end of the Spring 2015 semester the department said goodbye to Dr. Douglas Benson, who has retired from his position as Professor of Spanish after 35 years.
Dr. Benson received his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1974 and first joined the Department of Modern languages in September 1980. He leaves behind a legacy of dedicated teaching, influential research, and a commitment to cultural diversity at K-State.
During his time at K-State Benson has been a champion for cultural diversity on campus. He was involved in the development and implementation of the American Ethnics Studies Program (1987), and was honored with the Commerce Bank Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to Minority Students in 2000.
He was also known throughout campus for his commitment to teaching. He received numerous teaching awards including the Stamey College of Arts & Sciences Teaching award four times, the Commerce Bank Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (1999), and won the Dr. Ron and Rae Iman Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching (2008) and the Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars (2009), the university’s highest teaching award, during his time at K-State. At his retirement ceremony, students and alumni alike spoke about Benson’s enthusiasm in the classroom. Current and former students shared memories of Dr. Benson, emphasizing the way in which he formed personal relationships with each individual student, taking time – for example – to greet and shake the hand of each student that entered his classroom.
During his 35 years, Dr. Benson was also a prolific scholar. He published over 30 articles and book chapters in the U.S., Spain and Canada. His research areas include theories of heteroglossia and intertextuality in 20th Century Spanish Poetry with a focus on the works of Francisco Brines, Ernestina de Campourcin, Angel González and Gloria Fuertes as well as Chicano Poetry by the New Mexico poet Leroy Quintana. He also publishes in the field of second language pedagogy, and is particularly interested in the ways in which cultural and literary texts facilitate language learning. Dr. Benson served as a co-editor for Studies in 20th and 21st Century Literature (1984-1998), and was an active member of several professional organizations throughout his career.
As for his retirement, Dr. Benson plans to complete his current book projects, give teaching workshops for the Kansas World Language Association and spend time with his family including his six grandchildren.
Dr. Benson will be missed at K-State, and especially in the department of Modern Languages. We all congratulate him on his retirement. Do you have a memory of Dr. Benson you would like to share? Please leave a message below!