It is with sadness that the Department announces the loss of our colleague Professor Luis Dávila, who passed away on Sunday, March 8, 2015, at the Meadowood Retirement Community. He was Professor Emeritus in Latin American and Latino Literature at Indiana University, Bloomington. He was born in 1938 in San Antonio, Texas, to María de la Luz Aguilar de Dávila and Luis Dávila Delgado, both natives of Mexico. After graduating as Valedictorian of his high school class at Central Catholic High School, Luis was awarded a full scholarship to attend St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in Chemistry in 1960. Luis went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Latin American literature at Ohio State University, where he met his wife of 47 years, Roberta (Bobbi) Dombeck Dávila--while they were both graduate students.
Luis joined the faculty of Indiana University in the fall of 1969, where he taught in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese until his retirement as Full Professor in 2011. At IU he was deeply involved with the Latino community, for whom he advocated tirelessly and supported in every way he could. In 2008, the Latino Alumni Association awarded Luis the Distinguished Latino Faculty Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements to Indiana University and the Indiana University Latino Community for over 30 years.
Professor Dávila was one of the academic pioneers of Chicano and Latino Studies in the U.S. academy as well as an early advocate at IU for the creation of a program of study for US Latino culture and literature. In 1973 he founded with Nick Kanellos the groundbreaking journal La Revista Chicano-Riqueña , which he co-edited until 1980. In 1976, Luis inaugurated the interdisciplinary Chicano-Riqueño Studies Program at IU, dedicated to the study of Puerto Rican, Chicano, and other Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. Additionally, he was the faculty advisor to Chiricú, a multilingual journal of Latina and Latino literature and literary criticism that continues to be published annually at Indiana University. Luis’s efforts to promote US Latino Studies at IU were matched by his service to the university and the profession as a whole, as evidenced by the many terms he served on the Bloomington Faculty Council, the University Faculty Council and the Executive Committee for the Bloomington chapter of the America Association of University Professors.
While his spirited presence will be missed, Luis’s tireless efforts to build and promote a vibrant Latino Studies at IU live on in our students, faculty, staff and programs.