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Merle E. Simmons Distinguished Alumni (MESDA) Lecture

The Merle E. Simmons Distinguished Alumni (MESDA) Lecture series was initiated in 1996 to honor Professor Emeritus Merle E. Simmons for his contributions to the department and university. Each year, a distinguished alumna or alumnus is invited to visit Bloomington, present a lecture and reconnect with his/her roots.

The MESDA lecture is one of the department's premier events and has proven to facilitate our missions by encouraging mentorship, recognizing scholarship and uniting with alumni and friends.

Previous MESDA Lecturers, with their affiliation at the time of the lecture:

Name Year   Degree(s)
Earned at IU
Niraldo de Farias 2017-18   (PhD, 1995) Federal University of Alagoas, Maceió in Brazil

Juan Pino-Silva

Malcolm Compitello 
Barbara Weissberger




(PhD, 1989)

(PhD, 1979)
(BA, 1966)

Evergreen Community College.

University of Arizona
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Michael Schuessler 2013-14   (BA, 1989)
Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana – Cuajimalpa (Mexico)
August J. Aquila 2012-13   (PhD, 1973) CEO, Aquila Global Advisors
Judith Nantell 2011-12   (PhD, 1978) University of Arizona
Janet Dudley-Eshbach 2010-11   (BA, 1974) President, Salisbury University (Maryland)
Philip D. Rasico 2009-10   (PhD, 1981)
Vanderbilt University
Frances Aparicio 2008-09   (BA, 1978) University of Illinois at Chicago
Michael A. Schnepf2007-08   (PhD, 1985)University of Alabama
Marjorie Agosín2006-07   (PhD, 1982)
Wellesley College
Eduardo González2005-06   (PhD, 1975)Johns Hopkins University
Patricia Lunn2004-05   (PhD, 1984)Michigan State University
Candyce Leonard2003-04   (PhD, 1992)Wake Forest University
Janet DeCesaris2002-03   (PhD, 1988) Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
Margaret Persin2001-02   (PhD, 1977)
Rutgers University
Norma Alarcón2000-01   (PhD, 1983,
BA, 1970)
University of California-Berkeley
Roberto González Echevarría1999-00   (MA, 1966)Yale University
Cristina González1998-99   (PhD, 1981)
University of California-Davis
Margarita Suñer1997-98   (PhD, 1973)
Cornell University
Julie Greer Johnson1996-97   (PhD, 1975)
University of Georgia