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Fellowship announced in Latin American history (Released: 2/26/97)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- Paul Goodwin and Hugh Hamill first met in 1967, when Goodwin was a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts and Hamill was a professor of history at the University of Connecticut.

At that time, Goodwin recalls, Hamill was directing what is now the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at UConn. "Hugh would carry the 'center' in a cardboard box, because the center did not have a permanent home," Goodwin says.

Thirty years later, Goodwin is associate dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UConn. Hamill, after a lengthy career, is retired. And UConn's Department of History has announced that it will establish the Hugh M. Hamill Fellowship in Latin American History.

"Hugh is just the most marvelous ... warm human being that you can imagine," Goodwin says. "He is someone who deeply cared about his students and his discipline. He brought to the department an international reputation in Latin American history."

Hamill joined UConn in 1961 to develop a program in Latin American history after teaching four years at Ohio Wesleyan University. Once he joined the faculty, Hamill began to publish books and articles about colonial and 19th-century Mexican history and Spanish-American caudillos.

"His first book, The Hidalgo Revolt, helped put Hugh on the map as far as Latin American history," Goodwin says. The book is about the period in Mexican history when Mexico became independent of Spain in the early 1800s.

Hamill also mentored doctoral students who have become recognized scholar/teachers in the United States, Canada and Latin America. One of his former students, Lyman Johnson, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is currently president of the Conference on Latin American History.

"For the more than 30 years I was in the department," says Hamill, who retired in 1994, "I was committed to developing a good graduate program in Latin American history."

In 1979, the program took another step forward when he was able to secure funding under Title VI of the U.S. Higher Education Act for the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

As an acknowledgment of his excellence as a scholar, Hamill was named to the editorial boards of The Hispanic American Historical Review and The Americas. He also has held offices in the New England Council of Latin American Studies and the Latin American Studies Association.

The fellowship has been established to help the department recruit excellent graduate students, to enhance the interdisciplinary program of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and help UConn maintain its reputation in Latin American history.

"I am deeply honored that the Department of History has established a fellowship in my name," Hamill says.

Contributions are welcomed. Checks may be made payable to the University of Connecticut Foundation and designated for the 'Hamill Graduate Fellowship.' Contributions may be sent to Hamill Graduate Fellowship, Department of History, 241 Glenbrook Road, U-103, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 06269-2103.