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  • The Gift of Language
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  • The Gift of Language

    Benjamin Smith receives Dille Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award

    Benjamin Smith, Languages and Cultures, was selected as the 2012-13 recipient of the Dille Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award at Minnesota State University Moorhead.
    Smith presented “The Gift of Language” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at the MSUM library. The lecture addressed the unique human ability to choose what language we use in a given context based on pragmatic determinants.

    With examples from his recent pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago and his research on the history of the Spanish language, Smith offers suggestions on how to improve intercultural interaction through key cultural and linguistic competencies.

    From Sept. 1 to Oct. 12, Smith walked the 1,000-year-old route to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia. He either slept in a tent or overnighted in albergues, or inns, sponsored by monasteries and local Catholic churches. St. James is considered the patron saint of Spain, and the monument that marks his resting place is the third most visited shrine in Christianity after Jerusalem and Rome.

    Each year, the Dille Fund for Excellence Committee and the President select one MSUM faculty member to receive the Dille Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award. The Dille Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award is one of the highest honors Minnesota State University Moorhead bestows to its faculty. Honorees receive a $1,200 honorarium and commemorative desk clock in a brief ceremony before they present the annual Dille Distinguished Faculty Lecture to an audience of campus and community members.

    The Dille Fund for Excellence is a permanent endowment established in 1994 by the MSUM Alumni Foundation, through the generosity of MSUM Alumni and Friends, to honor the University’s former president, Roland Dille and his wife, Beth Dille. The endowment supports annual grants and the Dille Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award.