Domitila Domenech de Belaval (1912-1982)
Domitila was born in Ponce in 1912, the daughter of a Puerto Rican father and an American mother. She studied in Puerto Rico up to her third year of college and then completed her B.S. with a double major in English and French at Elmira College in New York State in 1933 where she also taught elementary and intermediate Spanish. In 1947, she completed an M.A. in Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her Ph.D. in Linguistics was from Louisiana State University in 1966.
Tila, as she was known, taught English language and literature at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the English Department of the College of Humanities, University of Puerto Rico, from 1933 to 1978, when she retired. She was the driving force behind the creation of the major in Language and Speech Communication. She served as chair of the English Department from 1969-1974. She also served as academic senator and participated in or led numerous academic committees at all levels of the university.
Tila created many teaching materials, including A Manual of Oral English Exercises (1959) which was used for approximately 20 years. She gave many public lectures and workshops during her years at the UPR. She was one of the collaborators in the creation of the textbook titled English Today in 1966. Along with Rose Nash, she edited two of the three-volume set of Readings in Spanish-English Contrastive Linguistics in 1982.
During her life, Tila contributed extensively to her community. She trained English teachers for the Department of Education of Puerto Rico. She devoted herself for 22 years to the development and leadership of the Planned Parenthood Association of Puerto Rico.
Tila was awarded Emeritus status posthumously in 1982.
Eugene V. Mohr (1929-2004)
Mohr was born in New York City but lived in Puerto Rico for almost 50 years. He received a Master’s in English and comparative literature from Columbia University in 1952 and PhD at University of California, Berkley. He worked for most of his career as a professor of English and linguistics in the English Department, College of Humanities, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. In 1996, he was named professor emeritus.
For many years, Mohr wrote reviews of Puerto Rican and Caribbean literature and columns addressing social, historical, and political topics for the San Juan Star. Long before the English department had the resources to begin its doctoral program in the “Literature and Language of the English-speaking Caribbean,” he was actively researching and teaching in these fields. He wrote The Other Caribbean: Concerns of West Indian Writing for the Department of Education of Puerto Rico in 1979. His book, The Nuyorican Experience: Literature of the Puerto Rican Minority (1982), was an early and important contribution to what is now a flourishing area of literary study and one of the most frequently cited works in the field.
Mohr was a collaborator with the English section of the College Entrance Examination Board, organizer and first president of the Caribbean Chapter of the College English Association, interim director of the English Department, and instrumental in the creation of the graduate program in English. In addition, he served as chairman of English and linguistics at InterAmerican University, editor for the Revista/Review Interamericana, and interim director of InterAmerican University Press.
On a more personal note, Gene was a wood and stone sculptor. A number of his works can be found in the Lewis C. Richardson Seminar at the UPR-RP. He is survived by his wife, Lolinne Pérez Marchand de Mohr; and son, Eugene.
Gene was distinguished as Professor Emeritus in 1996.
Andrew Hurley (1944-)
Andrew Hurley did his undergraduate studies at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and graduate work in literature at the University of California at Berkeley and Rice University, where he earned his PhD in 1973. In that same year, he came to the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, where he taught in the English Department and Graduate Program in Translation, in the College of Humanities, for thirty years.
Hurley’s career in translation began in 1982, when several of his translations were used in Borges: A Reader (Dutton). Since then, he has translated over fifty book-length works of fiction, biography, autobiography, memoir, history, and literary, art, and architectural criticism. He is perhaps best known for his translations of fiction, including the five “Pentagony” novels by Cuban Reinaldo Arenas (Penguin) and the Collected Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges (Penguin), and he has also translated such authors as Rubén Darío, Ernesto Sabato, Juan Carlos Onetti, Manuel Puig, Fernando Arrabal, Zoé Valdés, Arturo Pérez Reverte, Margo Glantz, and, in Puerto Rico, Ana Lydia Vega, Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá, and Antonio Martorell. Hurley has also done considerable work in academic and cultural texts, ranging from Luce López-Baralt’s The Sufi Trobar Clus and Spanish Mysticism: A Shared Symbolism to twenty-odd essays for UNESCO’s five-volume history of the Caribbean to catalogs and catalogues raisonnées for museums and private collectors.
Andy retired from the university in 2005. In 2008, he was named Professor Emeritus of English and Translation.
We are extremely proud of our three Emeritus Professors. They reflect the diversity and serious scholarship that characterize our department.