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College of Arts and Sciences|Diamond Jubilee -- 75th Anniversary

Susan Kirkpatrick

Bachelor of Science - 1963 - Spanish and English

     Susan Kirkpatrick discovered the value of her UW education when she took the Preliminary Exam for the Tripos at Cambridge University in England. "During the year I studied there before the exam, I was quite overwhelmed by the level of the students I encountered at Cambridge. I felt I was at a significant disadvantage, but as I read the question on the first exam -- it bad to do with French romanticism -- my rigorous training in UW classes came to my rescue." Studies with Dr. Glyn Thomas helped her understand the question's implications and how to frame a comparative argument. "At that moment, I realized just how well prepared I was, in knowledge and, above all, in habits of analysis and synthesis. The outcome proved that my training was more than adequate to the task -- I received a Newnham College Prize for my performance on that exam." After earning her master's in French and Spanish at Cambridge, she attended Harvard and completed a PhD in Comparative Literature. In 1971, she joined the faculty of the University of California, San Diego, where she is currently professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature. She chaired the Literature Department from 1988 to 1991. In addition to her Fulbright Fellowship to Cambridge, she was awarded a 1986 Guggenheim Fellowship to complete a book on Spanish women writers. She has published extensively in both English and Spanish, and is a recognized authority on nineteenth-century Spanish literature. Her "weather" memories are vivid...of intense cold, certainly, but also of spring thaws, when "Sun-bathing mania would overtake my sorority sisters and me. We'd race home from class at noon, tear into our bathing suits, and climb out on the flat roof where, slathering our bodies with a mixture of baby oil and iodine, we toasted or shivered, depending on the day."

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Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumna

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