UHV faculty member elected to national Spanish-language academy

Armando Chávez-Rivera, a University of Houston-Victoria associate professor of Spanish, recently was elected to join the Spanish-language academy that serves the United States and also will become a corresponding member of Spain’s oldest official Spanish-language institution.

Armando Chavez-Rivera

Chávez-Rivera was nominated and elected to join the Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española, or North American Academy of the Spanish Language, at the end of last year. The academy is one of 23 Spanish-language academies in four continents that serve 580 million Spanish-speakers around the world, according to the academy’s website. The academy, also known as ANLE, was founded in 1973 and contributes to the work of the Association of Academies of the Spanish Language and the Royal Spanish Academy, Spain’s royal and official institution that regulates the Spanish language. The mission of the academy is to study, prepare and implement the normative rules of Spanish in the U.S.

To be considered a candidate to join ANLE, an individual must stand out within the scope of the Spanish language in the fields of arts or sciences or have made substantial linguistic or literary contributions to the development and care of the Spanish language, according to the academy. Chávez-Rivera will join more than 30 other academic members – called numeraries.

Chance Glenn

“We are ecstatic to learn that Dr. Chávez-Rivera’s dedication to research and service in his field is being recognized by this national academy,” said Chance Glenn, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are proud of the work he has demonstrated in his pursuit of scholarly and teaching excellence and look forward to the impact his research will continue to have in his field and in the classroom.”

Chávez-Rivera has served since 2017 as a corresponding member of the academy. He will be formally and officially inducted into the academy in June. During the ceremony, there will be a presentation about Chávez-Rivera and his achievements, and Chávez-Rivera also will give a speech. He will receive a medal and certificate from the ANLE, and he will be a lifetime member of the academy.

“It is the highest recommendation and an honor to be in the company of world-renowned professors and writers of the Spanish language,” Chávez-Rivera said. “It is such an honor to become a lifetime member of the academy. Each national academy of the Spanish language has few numerary members.”

Chávez-Rivera has been a UHV faculty member since 2011 and is the director of the UHV Spanish program. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1993 from the University of Havana in Cuba and in 2004 received a master’s degree in Latin American integration from the University of La Plata in Argentina. He also holds two additional master’s degrees, including a master’s degree in Spanish American literature from New Mexico State University and a master’s in Hispanic lexicography from the School of Hispanic Lexicography of the Royal Spanish Academy. He holds a doctoral degree in Hispanic literature from the University of Arizona.

Chávez-Rivera’s research focuses on the origins of lexicography in different regions where Spanish is spoken, including the United States, the Caribbean and Spain. In 2021 he published a book of his research on lexicography in Latin America called “Diccionario de provincialismos de la Isla de Cuba,” translated in English to “Dictionary of Provincialisms of the Island of Cuba.” He has published four other books – “Cuba per se. Cartas de la diáspora,” “El poeta en la ciudad,” “Memorias de papel,” and “Rescate del tiempo.” Chávez-Rivera also has published two dozen academic journal articles and chapters, and has given presentations on his research at local, state, national and international conferences and universities. Chávez-Rivera previously worked full time as a journalist for 15 years prior to academia and continues to contribute to journals and publications as an editorial board member and columnist. He also has worked as an editor and a manuscript reviewer.

Kyoko Amano

“This is an exciting achievement for Dr. Chávez-Rivera, and we are proud to have him as part of our faculty,” said Kyoko Amano, dean of the UHV College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences. “This membership is recognition of all the work he has done, and we are happy to support him in his academic endeavors.”

As a numerary member of the ANLE, Chávez-Rivera also will become a corresponding member of the Royal Spanish Academy, he said. He looks forward to doing even more in-depth research into lexicography and the links between the Spanish language, culture and society, and presenting his research to his new colleagues in the academy. One of his main goals is to see his current research published in his new upcoming book.

“I am ready to be fully engaged in more responsibility in the ANLE and more projects in the field for my research in the U.S. and Spanish America,” Chávez-Rivera said. “As a member and a scholar, this will present more opportunities to present my books at other institutions, which gives more visibility to our faculty here at UHV. We work very seriously here at UHV in the classroom and in our fields, and I am happy to share that with more scholars and members of the 23 national academies in the world.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Amber Aldaco