A Bequest for the Best

French professor donates his estate to further the humanities at UF.

After 57 years of teaching — 29 of them at UF — William Calin, Graduate Research Professor of French and Francophone Studies, is not planning to give it up anytime soon. He says he doesn’t plan to retire. “I love teaching and researching too much.” In fact, he plans to continue giving back in this life and beyond. He has created an estate bequest for UF to recruit visiting humanities professors for six of its language and culture studies programs. “UF is conscious of the importance of the international,” says Calin.

Calin sits in front of bookcaseWilliam Calin has been teaching French for nearly six decades.Lyon Duong/UF Photography

UF students are “first rate” and Calin’s hope is for them to “catch the enthusiasm” for the liberal arts.

In a world where people are focused on the marketplace and college is expected to create a workforce, the humanities can be a tough sell. Calin is optimistic, however. “We should continue doing what we do, as best we can: teaching, researching, writing, and striving, with our colleagues, to create the best possible programs so as to offer our best to the students.” His goal for the bequest is to support smaller programs that aren’t as likely to be funded. “Major figures in the political arena proclaim that higher education’s function is to prepare our young people for jobs, and jobs in the region. In order to do so, they valorize STEM fields over all others.”

Calin considers the humanities and social sciences to be of great importance to any university. Humanities and social sciences professors are compelled by the nature of their field to emphasize teaching, he asserts. UF students are “first rate” and Calin’s hope is for them to “catch the enthusiasm” for the liberal arts.

Calin has taught and researched French studies at universities in four nations, and he praises the culture of openness and interdisciplinarity at UF in particular. He is pleased that UF cares about its programs and students, and says that UF’s linguistics and language studies tracks were a major draw for him. “UF is my family.”


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