The family of the late Dr. Maria Yolanda Forero-Villegas has donated her vast book and periodical collection to East Central University’s Linscheid Library.
The assistant professor of English and languages, who came to ECU in 2011, died last spring. She taught all levels of Spanish at ECU as well as introductory French.
“It really is a wonderful donation and a big addition to our collection,” said Adriana Lancaster, dean of the library and distance education. “Dr. Forero-Villegas was a valued member of the ECU faculty and is missed.”
Spanish was her native tongue, but she had near native fluency in English and French and could read and speak Italian and Portuguese.
“All the member of the department are deeply saddened by Dr. Forero-Villegas’ death. Given her strong academic record and demonstrated excellence in teaching, we were so pleased to have her join our community last year,” said Dr. Jennifer McMahon, chair of the department of English and languages. “We were excited about what she could offer our students as a native speaker of Spanish and an accomplished teacher/scholar. We hoped she would have a long career at ECU and know her passing is a loss not just to her family and our department, but also to the campus community and her academic discipline.”
Forero-Villegas’ education took her from Bogota, Colombia to Paris, France and Boulder, Colo. Her travels and love of reading made for an impressive and extensive personal library totaling 1,177 items.
“I was really impressed with the variety of the collection,” said Chelsea Baker, liaison librarian for the department of English and languages. “These items are for students of Spanish language and literature, but also for Spanish speaking students looking for a good book to read.”
After careful review, the librarians added 427 works to the Linscheid collection, including Spanish and Latin American literature and literary criticism, Columbian history and political science and a number of Spanish language juvenile literature books.
“These resources have greatly enhanced our collection in these areas.” Lancaster said.
Each book includes a bookplate that states the gift is “from the Forero-Villegas family in memory of Professor Maria Yolanda Forero-Villegas.”
The donation also included a copy of the thesis.
The library shared the items they did not keep. The periodicals were posted to a distribution list for other libraries, textbooks were returned to the department of English and languages at ECU and the remaining books were donated to Better World Books.
“Dr. Forero-Villegas’ collection will touch the lives of students for many, many years,” said Lancaster.
The books have been catalogued and are now available for use at the library.