In Memoriam: Russell G. Hamilton, 1934-2016

RussellHamiltonRussell G. Hamilton, professor emeritus of Spanish and Portuguese at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, died late last month in Minnesota, where he lived after his retirement. He was 81 years old.

Dr. Hamilton joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University in 1984 as dean for graduate studies and research. He was the first African American to serve as a dean of a Vanderbilt school or college. Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty, Dr. Hamilton was a full professor and associate dean for faculty at the University of Minnesota.

Nicholas S. Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University, stated that “Russell Hamilton was a true pioneer whose ability to bring people together to advance Vanderbilt’s growth brought distinction to the university’s academic mission and inspired us all. He was deeply respected and admired, and we can all learn a great deal from Dean Hamilton’s legacy of recognizing and empowering his colleagues. His dedicated service as dean and transformative achievements paved the way for so many.”

A native of New Haven, Connecticut, Professor Hamilton held a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut. He earned a master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin and then studied for two years in Brazil. He returned to the United States to complete a Ph.D. at Yale University.

Dr. Hamilton was the author of two books: Literatura Africana, Literatura Necessaria (Luanda, 1981) and Voice From an Empire: A History of Afro-Portuguese Literature (University of Minnesota Press, 1975).


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