U of M Will Award Record Number of Doctorates at Aug. 17 Commencement University News
For release: August 8, 2008

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey

The University of Memphis will award a record number of doctoral degrees at its summer Commencement on Sunday, Aug. 17, at 3 p.m. at FedExForum.  A total of 689 degrees will be conferred, including 62 doctorates, the most the University has ever awarded at a graduation.

Dr. Ralph Albanese, a scholar of French literature who is respected on both sides of the Atlantic, will be the featured speaker. Albanese received the 2008 Willard R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award, which recognizes exceptional and sustained contributions to scholarly-creative achievement, teaching, and service, and for bringing recognition to the University. He is a professor of French and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Albanese received his Ph.D. degree from Yale University in 1972. Before joining the U of M, he taught at Purdue, the University of Southern California, the University of Michigan, and the University of Nebraska. His principal area of specialization is 17th century French literature, with an emphasis on sociocriticism. In addition to Le Dynamisme de la peur chez Molière, Initiation aux problèmes socioculturels de France au XVIIèmesiècle and Molière à l'Ecole républicaine, he has edited two volumes of L'Esprit Créateur and has published more than 60 refereed articles in national and international journals. 

Albanese has also lectured extensively in the United States and abroad. In 2003, he published a book that examines the institutionalization of La Fontaine in the 19th century French educational system and the social and cultural implications of the poet’s decanonization in contemporary France. His most recent book-length project is Corneille à l’Ecole républicaine.

In addition to serving on the editorial board of several professional journals, Albanese was elected to the executive committee of the Modern Language Association’s Division on Seventeenth-Century French Literature. He was co-editor of a special issue of Yale French Studies on contemporary French education, which was published this spring.

Albanese has received a SPUR (Superior Performance in University Research) Award, a Distinguished Research Award for his work in the humanities, and a Dunavant Professorship, and he was a co-recipient of the University Distinguished Research Award.

Since 1992, Albanese has co-directed the annual Language Fair, has promoted foreign language education in Memphis City and Shelby County Schools, and has served in an advisory capacity for the International Business Education Center. Albanese also was instrumental in designing the University’s International MBA program and, since 1993, in implementing the annual Business Language Conference.

Founded in 1912, the University of Memphis is a comprehensive metropolitan research university that is recognized nationally and internationally for its academic, research, and athletic programs. With more than 20,000 students, the U of M offers more than 254 areas of study for those seeking bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. It also offers the juris doctor (law) and education specialist degrees.

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