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Faculty of Languages and Linguistics Ends Academic Year with Annual Awards

Georgetown University’s College of Arts & Sciences gathered at the end of the academic year to celebrate outstanding members of the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics (FLL).

“The Faculty of Language and Linguistics is a national and preeminent leader in language education,” said Rosario Ceballo, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “As we look at the world today, it’s important to reach out to others, to listen, to learn and to dialogue across our differences. Speaking and learning languages can help us to be people for others.”

In her remarks, Ceballo spoke to the unique power of interdisciplinary, humanistic learning to bridge cultural and linguistic barriers. 

“This learning might come in linguistics, where our faculty and students research and study the forms and contexts of language,” said Ceballo. “It might come in languages no longer spoken, like Ancient Greek and Latin, whose legacies surround us everywhere we turn or it might arise in the panoply of modern languages that our Faculty of Languages and Linguistics research and teach.” 

Distinguished Service Award

As part of the ceremony, each year a member of the faculty who has “made extraordinary contributions to the programs and mission of the FLL through his or her research, teaching and service to the community” is presented with the FLL Distinguished Service Award. 

This year, Charles McNelis, a professor in the Department of Classics and faculty directory of graduate liberal studies in the School of Continuing Studies, received the award. Susanna Lee, the chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies, presented McNelis with the honor. 

“Professor McNelis challenges students to confront the fundamental human questions raised by ancient texts, even as he develops students’ ability to identify the elements of diction, meter, and style that together make up a poem’s literary texture,” said Lee. “His trademark combination of sharp wit, modesty, and wisdom make him an ideal teacher and invaluable colleague.”

McNelis served as chair of the classics department for six years. He is one of the world’s foremost Latinists and his translations of difficult texts challenge contemporary notions of gender and sexuality in the ancient world. 

“Perhaps the most important lesson to be drawn from your studies is that there is not a single way of speaking, of conceiving of the world, of trying to communicate ideas to others, of capturing the excitement, beauty or even the disappointment of a given moment in life,” said McNelis to the assembled FLL graduates. 

The Regent’s Address

Each year, the FLL Awards Ceremony features The Regent’s Address, which is delivered by a senior in the FLL with an exceptional GPA who is chosen by the faculty. This year’s remarks were delivered by Chloe Olivia Morris (C’23). 

“The Faculty of Languages and Linguistics has opened my eyes to something paradoxical: we’re not just students of ‘languages’ and ‘linguistics.’ We are students of history, literature, art, political science and anthropology,” said Olivia Morris, a Spanish major. “The FLL has taught us to become global citizens of an ever-changing world with the goal of intercultural communication, understanding, and bridge-building.”

For Morris, studying a language is about far more than just proper syntax and pronunciation. 

“The Department of Spanish and Portuguese has taught me that languages are more than just phonetics,” said Morris. “Languages are vehicles that simultaneously unbuild and rebuild our worlds, and they change us just as much as we change them.”

-by Hayden Frye (C’17)

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