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Luis Eyzaguirre, 1926-1999
July 19, 1999
Luis Eyzaguirre, emeritus professor of modern & classical languages, died of brain cancer on June 24. He was a professor of Latin American literature at the University for 33 years from 1966, until his retirement last December.
"We were already missing his professional presence as a result of his retirement. His death has had a more personal impact," says David Herzberger, professor and head of the modern and classical languages department. "When any issue came up - whether it was graduate student support, grading policy, or promotion and tenure issues - Luis was always looking at the humane issues involved, while others might be looking at the numbers or the dollars," he adds. "He was the voice of human kindness and responsibili ty."
Eyzaguirre received several distinguished teaching awards. As a teacher, he was like a father to his students, says Miguel Gomes, an associate professor of modern & classical languages. As a colleague, "he was the best," Gomes says, "he always had time to share with everybody."
A leading scholar of contemporary Spanish American Literature, he earned his reputation in the field with a book published in 1973 on the hero in Spanish American novels of this century. He was a close friend of many of the continent's leading writers and poets and was a visiting professor or lecturer at universities in France, Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile and elsewhere. He also was an editor of Latin American poetry for the Library of Congress Handbook of Latin American Studies.
Born in San Carlos, Chile, in 1926, he came to the United States in 1958. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University. He lived for nearly 30 years in downtown Hartford, where he led poetry workshops for the city's Hispanic community. He also wrote short stories and had almost completed a critical analysis of works by the Peruvian writer, Alfredo Bryce Echenique.
He is survived by his partner, Claudia Santelices, and his former wife, Maria Eyzaguirre, a son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren. A memorial service was held June 27 in Hartford. Donations in his memory may be sent to the Luis B. Eyzaguirre Memorial Lecture on Latin American Literature and Culture, Center for Latin American Studies, U-161.