Fred D'Aguiar named Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 1, 2006 – Fred D’Aguiar, professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been named the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors during the board’s quarterly meeting August 28.

The Gloria D. Smith Professorship in Africana Studies was established in 1995 by former Virginia Tech President Paul Torgersen with funds from the Athletic Association. The professorship, named in honor of the late Gloria D. Smith, a counselor and advocate of minority students on campus before her retirement, is awarded for a period of two years to an outstanding faculty member who contributes significantly to the growth and development of minority student, student athletes, and scholarly pursuits. The honoree also oversees the Gloria D. Smith Speaker Series and makes at least one university-wide presentation during his/her tenure.

A contemporary Caribbean writer of international renown, D’Aguiar is a novelist, playwright, poet, and essayist. His publications include critically acclaimed works including An English Sampler: Selected and New Poems, Dear Future, A Jamaican Airman Foresees His Death, and Feeding the Ghosts. His work has been produced for television, film, and radio, and has been translated into many languages.

D’Aguiar came to Virginia Tech from the University of Miami where he directed a very successful Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing. He chairs the English Department’s Diversity Committee and co-chairs the Creative Writing Committee and the Creative Writing Graduate Faculty group. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kent (England).

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech embraces the arts, humanities, social and human sciences, and education. The college nurtures intellect and spirit, enlightens decision-making, inspires positive change, and improves the quality of life for people of all ages. It is home to the departments of apparel, housing and resource management, communication, educational leadership and policy studies, English, foreign languages and literatures, history; human development, interdisciplinary studies, music, philosophy, political science, ROTC, science and technology in society, sociology, teaching and learning, and theatre arts. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive university in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is among the top research universities in the nation. Today, Virginia Tech’s eight colleges are dedicated to quality, innovation, and results through teaching, research, and outreach activities. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.