Department of Languages

Highlights from the Department of Languages Fall 2022 Semester

As the Fall semester draws to a close, we look back on some highlights from Fall 2022 in the Department of Languages. We turn the spotlight on the hard work and enthusiasm of Department of Languages’ students and faculty and the wider Clemson community as they share their valuable knowledge and experiences working toward a global, interconnected future.


September 21: Commission on Latino Affairs Symposium

The LIH Society hosted the 2022 Commission on Latino Affairs Symposium on September 21 in collaboration with several Clemson organizations. The symposium, entitled “Equity in Heath Care and Promotion Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic,” featured guest speaker and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi of Baylor College of Medicine who presented the keynote lecture, “Transformational and Adaptive Leadership in Tropical Medicine: Academic Creativity, Strategic Alliances and Diplomacy.” An hour-long discussion panel followed the keynote lecture, with various community-based health organizations sharing their experiences promoting health and resiliency in Latinx communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The symposium concluded with a networking and poster session featuring the research of Clemson students and faculty.

Keynote Speaker Professor Maria Elena Bottazzi with Professor Arelis Moore de Peralta, community panelists, and Clemson students


October 5: Forum for German and Spanish in Latin American Business Fall 2022

Students of Spanish and German speak with representatives of BMW Manufacturing Garrett and Michelle Bounds

The German and Spanish sections joined together this year to hold a Forum for German and Spanish in Latin American Business. This conference highlighting German investment in Latin America gave special focus this year to investment in the Bajio region of Mexico.


The event was organized by Professors Daniel Garcia and Magda Matuskova in Spanish and Professor Lee Ferrell in German. With both on-line and in-person sessions, there were approximately 130 attendees and 12 companies.


October 15: Department hosts 49th Annual Poetry Declamation Contest

The Department of Languages’ 49th Annual Poetry Declamation Contest returned to campus this semester for the first time since 2019, having been cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and hosted virtually in 2021. The contest and awards ceremony were held in the brand-new Humanities Hall.

The Declamation contest brings together high school students from 22 different schools across South Carolina and Georgia to compete in poetry recitation in their languages of study. Contests are hosted in 9 languages (ASL, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish) and includes levels ranging from absolute beginner to native speaker. Students recite two poems from memory: a mandatory selection and their choice of a second selection. They are judged by a panel of judges comprised of Department of Languages faculty and 27 guest judges from the community. This year, 280 students participated in the event.

The return to the in-person contest allowed the students, their parents, and teachers the opportunity to learn about Clemson University first-hand and participate in campus tours.

The Department of Languages thanks the hard work of the Declamation Committee: Su-I Chen, Amy Sawyer, Melva Persico, Julia Schmidt, Debra Williamson, and Lee Ferrell. It also thanks the guest judges, Department of Languages faculty, lab assistants, and many student volunteers who make this event possible.

Students pose with the Tiger after participating in the 49th Annual Declamation Contest.


November 4: Clemson Celebration of Día de los Muertos

The Clemson community observed its fifth year of the Día de los Muertos celebration on November 4. The celebration, which is sponsored by the Clemson University Commission on Latino Affairs and Clemson Inclusion and Equity along with sponsors from the Department of Languages, the South Carolina Botanical Gardens, and Clemson Libraries, is organized by students, faculty, and community members with the aim of sharing an important cultural tradition with the Clemson community.

Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a celebration of life originating in Mexico. Now celebrated in communities throughout Latin America and the United States on the night of November 1-2, the Day of the Dead is an important celebration during which the living and dead are reunited in joyful remembrance and festivity. Day of the Dead celebrations typically include various colorful symbols such as marigolds, skeletons, sugar skulls, traditional foods, and altars where family members can honor departed loved ones with photos and offerings of food and drink.

The Clemson event featured altars, traditional food trucks, a display of the skeleton “Catrina” in traditional dress, face painting, a mariachi band, and a screening of the film Coco.


December 15-16: 12th Virtual International LiLETRAd Congress hosted by Clemson University

Clemson University hosted this year’s 12th Virtual International LiLETRAd Congress, the theme of which was “Metaversality and immersive realities: a space for (re)construction” on December 15-16.

Aimed at professors, students, and alumni of English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, the symposium featured discussions, presentations, and lectures on topics including the relationship between literature and Metaverse, the convergence and compatibility of external realities, learning languages in virtual reality, human and economic social interaction, voice-constructed world and time-space, and more. The congress concluded with a discussion on how literature, language, and translation will always be essential. Clemson’s representatives and coordinators included Professor Graciela Tissera of the Department of Languages and Elysse Newman, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs.


The Department of Languages is extremely proud of the impressive accomplishments of our talented students and faculty, and we look forward to the exciting opportunities, achievements, and successes next year will bring!

Want to see more of what we’re up to? Read more on the Department of Languages facebook page.