Ivonne García, a member of Kenyon’s faculty since 2006, has been appointed by Provost Joseph L. Klesner and President Sean Decatur to the William P. Rice Professorship in English and Literature. The award recognizes García’s extraordinary scholarship and outstanding contributions to Kenyon’s academic environment.
“Ivonne García has been one of Kenyon’s foremost leaders in its goal to be more inclusive,” Provost Joseph L. Klesner said. “Tirelessly, she strives to make Kenyon a more welcoming and more supportive place for our students from underrepresented groups, as I witnessed firsthand while she served as associate provost. At the same time, she is a dynamic and popular instructor, teaching exciting courses like ‘Demons, Great Whites and Aliens: Representing American Fear,’ guiding our students into a deep exploration of literature and film in the horror genre. Moreover, she has been very active as a scholar, publishing on a wide range of American literature topics. She’s perfect for the Rice chair.”
Established in 2011 by a gift from William P. Rice ’66, the professorship honors a promising scholar in the Department of English, the Department of Classics or the Department of Modern Languages and Literature whose work in publications, research or teaching exemplifies excellence in their discipline.
García is an active scholar in the fields of 19th-century U.S. literature, postcolonial and Latinx studies. Her numerous publications include a 2011 essay that was awarded the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society’s award for best essay by a junior faculty member or graduate student. In addition to teaching in the Department of English, she is the director of Kenyon’s Latino/a Studies Concentration. She is the third recipient of the three-year endowed professorship, which provides its holder with salary, professional development and research support.
This funding support has helped García with her book “Gothic Geoculture: Nineteenth-Century Representations of Cuba in the Transamerican Imaginary,” to be published next spring by The Ohio University Press Global Latin/o American Series. It also will help her with a second book proposal examining telenovelas, film, autobiography, music videos and graphic novels to theorize about structures of empowerment found in contemporary Latinx narratives. Additionally, the professorship will aid García as she writes an essay exploring the musical “Hamilton” as a literary text that rewrites the immigrant experience as a foundational narrative.
"I am immensely grateful to Provost Klesner and President Decatur for selecting me for this honor,” García said. “First as a Marilyn Yarbrough Fellow, then as a tenured faculty member, and even during my work as associate provost here at Kenyon College, producing scholarly works and staying active in my field is an important part of who I am and what I do. It's great to work at a place where the provost is invested in the faculty's success as scholars, and that support has inspired me in my pursuits to contribute my particular voice and perspective to my discipline."
García began teaching at Kenyon in 2006. In the 2007–2008 academic year, she held a Marilyn Yarbrough Dissertation/Teaching Fellowship, awarded to scholars who are members of underrepresented groups and who are in the final stages of their doctoral work. In 2011, García received a Whiting Teaching Fellowship in 2011 in recognition of her teaching excellence as well as Kenyon’s Trustee Teaching Excellence Award.
García has taught in the Kenyon Educational Enrichment Program since its founding in 2007 and, in 2011, was promoted to co-director of the program. In 2014, Decatur appointed her as Kenyon’s inaugural Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, a post she held until 2015, when she was promoted to associate provost — the first Latina to serve in that position.
Beloved among many in the Kenyon community for her mentorship, her commitment to inclusion and her uplifting presence, García was selected by the Class of 2017 to give that year’s Baccalaureate address. She was the first Latina to deliver the address at Kenyon.
García earned her bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University. She enjoyed a career as an award-winning journalist in Puerto Rico before earning a master’s degree and a doctorate from The Ohio State University.