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Faculty Spotlight: Óscar Rivera-Rodas (Professor of Spanish)
Óscar Rivera-Rodas

After several decades of excellence in the profession, Dr. Óscar Rivera-Rodas shows no signs of slowing down. He is still publishing extensively, and continues organizing in Puebla, Mexico, the highly successful international conferences he started, namely, the Jornadas de teatro and the Jornadas de poesía.

I would venture to say that Óscar considers himself first and foremost a scholar. His list of publications is astounding and celebrated nationally and internationally. In 2008 alone he has published an article on the Venezuelan author Mariano Picón Salas in the prestigious Cuban journal Revista Casa de las Américas, the prologue of the complete poetry works of Puebla’s unofficial poet laureate Gilberto Castellanos, and an article included in a book dedicated to the well-known scholar and author José Pascual Buxó, issued by U.N.A.M.

In 2009, the XVIII Jornadas de Teatro and the IV Jornadas de Poesía will take place. Throughout the years these two conferences have featured world-renowned scholars and outstanding graduate students in the area of Latin American literature and culture. More remarkably, the Jornadas have served to pay homage to many of the most important authors and personalities in the world of poetry and theatre in Latin America. The chosen ones for next year are Gilberto Castellanos in poetry and Puebla’s own Manuel Reygadas, who during a long and distinguished career has written, produced, and starred in countless plays both in Mexico and abroad. Having witnessed the success of these conferences first hand, I am sure they will continue for many years to come.

As if these accomplishments were not proof enough of Óscar’s excellence, he also receives international recognition. He has been invited by the VI Festival Internacional de Teatro de Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic, March 2009) as a keynote speaker to give presentations on the Dominican playwright Franklin Domínguez and about Mexican theater. The government of the State of Puebla has also invited him to present Gilberto Castellanos’s book in May 2009.

Óscar Rivera-Rodas’s career is an example of dedication and brilliance that has gained him recognition and admiration both nationally and internationally. It is imperative to point out that Óscar is very aware of his role as an ambassador for the University of Tennessee, a role he carries out with dignity and generosity. He truly is an inspiration to me and others in a profession in which complacency can easily set in.

-- Submitted by Álvaro A. Ayo (Spanish)

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