Professor Shares Endowed Chair for Learning Leadership Experiences

The sights, sounds, and tastes of both Portugal and Cape Verde were introduced to Valencia on Tuesday, November 8, by Humanities Professor, Richard Sansone. Richard guided a lively audience of students, faculty and staff, through his summer travels to these two beautiful countries – rousing their senses along the way with the delivery of local Cape Verdean and Portuguese music, treats, stories, and photos.

Richard traveled to Portugal and Cape Verde with the support of his endowed chair, The Howard L. Palmer Chair in Foreign Language, and the Valencia Foundation. The Howard L. Palmer Chair in Foreign Language endowed chair is awarded to a faculty member for a learning experience that supports the mission, vision, and values of Valencia College. Approved activities include sponsored residencies for outstanding academicians and practitioners in the field to interact with our students and faculty; student instructional projects and field trips; and acquisition of additional materials including, literature, and audio-visual equipment for the classroom, studio, or laboratory.

Richard applied for this endowed chair in an effort to enrich the Portuguese language curriculum at Valencia with more content direct from the source. By conducting primary research in both Portugal and the Portuguese-speaking African country of Cape Verde, he was able to bring back a wealth of information to share with Valencia students and employees.

Not only did Professor Sansone introduce new food and music at his presentation, he also encouraged dialog in the audience with students he invited from Cape Verde and guests who had previously visited Portugal. Donna Marino, the donor relations manager with the Valencia Foundation, commented on the recap of Richard’s trip, saying, “I appreciated Professor Sansone’s unique (and succinct) way of infusing the culture of Portugal and Cape Verde into his presentation.”

The opportunity to meet the Cape Verdean students, as well as the other audience members, was encouraged by Richard when he, in typical professor panache, gave each member a quiz. The quiz challenged each audience member to complete the list of puzzles on their paper by exchanging information with others to see who had been to Portugal, who enjoyed doing triathlons, who enjoyed yoga and sailing, who once taught in Egypt, who spoke Cape Verdean creole, and other conundrums.

Linda Downing, assistant vice president of the college transition programs in student affairs, (who was later identified as the member who enjoyed yoga and sailing) shared that she was most impressed with the audience. “We had American students, international students, administrators, faculty, [and] staff all interested in learning something together. For me, that was the true evidence that we are a ‘learning college.’ Believing that Richard demonstrated the richness that exists in our Valencia culture by sharing his experiences and expertise, Linda said she hopes that, “we will see more faculty and staff host events like this one.”

To see Richard’s presentation, please click here.

Howard Palmer was the founder of Palmer Electric and strong community leader. He shared his community support through many civic and social organizations and deeply enjoyed supporting the work of Valencia and the Valencia Foundation.  After his passing in 1989, the Valencia Foundation Board of Directors established the Howard L. Palmer Chair in Foreign Languages in his memory with collaboration from other community leaders in Orlando, Winter Park, Osceola and Kissimmee.

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