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UTSA English professor Debbie Lopez dies Oct. 14 after extended illness

Debbie Lopez

UTSA Professor Debbie Lopez

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(Oct. 17, 2011) -- Debbie Lopez, UTSA associate professor of English, died Friday, Oct. 14, after an extended illness. She was a faculty member in the UTSA Department of English since 1993 and was on medical leave for the fall 2011 semester.

Originally from Chicago, Ill., she received her bachelor's degree from University of the South, two master's degrees from Middlebury College (Bread Loaf School of English) and Harvard University and a doctorate from Harvard University, where her dissertation, directed by the distinguished scholar Sacvan Bercovitch, received the Howard Mumford Jones Prize.

In 2008-2009, Lopez was a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece, where she taught American literature courses in romanticism and realism. Previously, she served as master's graduate adviser of record and worked tirelessly advising and mentoring students, particularly on their programs of study and the comprehensive examination required for the English M. A. degree. Her dual specialty focused on British and American 19th century literatures including canonical authors such as Keats, Melville, Hawthorne and Twain.

She was one of the first in the department to teach courses in African American and Native American literatures. While she is remembered mostly for her work with graduates and undergraduates, Lopez also was working on a long-term project, "Taking the Fall: Lilith and Lamia in the New World Eden."

"We have lost one of the most admired teachers and mentors," said Bridget Drinka, associate professor and chair of the Department of English. "Debbie Lopez changed the lives of so many of our students -- inspiring them with her deep knowledge of American and British literatures, guiding them as they planned their own careers, sharing her love for literature and the humanities with all who came to work with her. She will be profoundly missed."

"Debbie Lopez was a respected colleague and a dedicated scholar," said Daniel Gelo, dean of the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts. "During her 18 years at UTSA, Debbie collaborated with several of us on significant conferences and publications, and she inspired many students along the way. She will be sorely missed."

Mark Allen, professor of English and also a master's adviser, remembered: "One of Debbie's (many) outstanding characteristics as a teacher is the care she offered to her students and the way they reciprocated. I know of few faculty members whose students so clearly cared about them. She had a wry sense of humor -- even wicked at times -- but a deep-seated gentleness pervaded her character."

"She had an extremely fine mind. She was always ready for a new research project or for a long conversation in the hallway about Hawthorne or Melville," said Jeanne Reesman, professor of English, colleague, friend and co-author. "Every time I spoke with her, I learned something new."

Long-time friend from graduate school and co-author, Maria deGuzman, remembers, "She was a big-hearted person -- a person with enormous warmth and charm, grace and compassion in addition to possessing a vast intellect and exuberance for learning, teaching and sharing her research and scholarship with her colleagues and students."

Because Lopez gave freely of her time and energies -- whether in independent studies, directed readings or review sessions for the M.A. exams -- she also is grieved by her students, both graduates and undergraduates.

"She was kind, patient and genuinely interested in helping me grow as a writer and researcher. Every conversation with her was as enjoyable as it was conducive to my personal growth," said one student.

Another student describes her gracious generosity: "She always took the time to help me or answer my questions. She was an inspiration. I will miss her very much." Many students believe that without Lopez's guidance, they would not have completed their master's programs.

In addition to her love for cats, Lopez will be remembered for the trips she planned to explore blues music including visiting historic venues where blues was born. She is survived by her husband, John Tucker, and her sister, Dawn Luyster, of Fort Worth, Texas.


>> There will be a memorial service, open to friends, colleagues and students, at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Vaughan's Funeral Home, 319 E. San Antonio Ave., Boerne. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Debbie Lopez Memorial Scholarship Fund, established for M.A. students in honor of her memory.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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