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Lasting Impact: Marysa Navarro

Marysa Navarro, the Charles Collis Professor of History, will retire from the faculty in 2010. She joined the Department of History in 1968 as a specialist in Latin American history. A pioneer in women's history and women's studies and a prolific author, Navarro has been an inspiring teacher and mentor to four decades of Dartmouth students.

navarroA portrait of longtime History Professor Marysa Navarro will hang in Baker Library after she retires in 2010. It is a fitting tribute, as Navarro says the library is "a place that I have loved." (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)
History is personal: Navarro's salient memories of Dartmouth center on people: the colleagues she debated, agreed with, and agreed to disagree with as Dartmouth moved toward coeducation; the students she visited in prison after the ROTC protest at Parkhurst in 1969, driving her red Volkswagen bug to deliver their assignments and exams; the personal connections that have endured beyond the classroom. The sort of teaching the College encourages, she believes, makes Dartmouth "the kind of extended family that doesn't exist in many other places."

In the classroom: While Navarro hopes to maintain a continuing presence in Dartmouth's classrooms as an emerita, her last class as a regular member of the faculty will be next fall. It's a seminar—"1953: Iran, Guatemala, and the Birth of the CIA"—to be co-taught with longtime colleague Gene Garthwaite, professor of history
and the Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor of Asian Studies. Her favorite course over the years? "I loved teaching the history department's honors seminar," she says, "because of the opportunity it offers to consider the writing of different kinds of history, as students lay the groundwork for writing their theses."

Looking ahead: Navarro tallies at least another decade's worth of work already underway. The list includes a history of voting rights in Latin America, with Mexican co-author Ana Lau Jaiven. That project has already turned up a surprising Dartmouth connection: the first head of the Pan American Union, an organization formed in 1890 to promote cooperation among the countries of Latin America and the United States, was John Barrett, Class of 1888. An extended essay on coeducation is in the works, as is a family memoir. (Navarro, the daughter of exiled Spanish Republicans, grew up in occupied France.) Her work for social change continues as well. "I bring my scholarly training to my activism," she says, always working for women's empowerment.

Navarro sees a bright future for the College, too: "I'm very happy for the generation of students who'll have Dr. Jim Yong Kim for their president," says Navarro, who was hired one year before President James Wright joined the faculty. "Dr. Kim's commitment and activism are good things for Dartmouth."

By KELLY SEAMAN

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Last Updated: 1/14/10