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KU News Release

Jan. 20, 2005
Contact: Mary Jane Dunlap, University Relations, (785) 864-8853.

Kansas French teachers name KU professor French Educator of 2004

LAWRENCE -- The Kansas chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French has named a University of Kansas professor, Bryant Freeman, French Educator of the Year.

Recognized as one of the world's foremost Haitian scholars, Freeman is a professor of Haitian studies and director of the Institute of Haitian Studies at KU. The association classifies Haitian studies as a branch of French studies. Essentially Freeman teaches about third-world countries, using Haiti as a focal point.

The award cited Freeman for making a significant scholarly contribution to the francophone world by publishing a Haitian-English dictionary, now in its fifth edition.

In addition, Freeman was cited for his service and leadership teaching not only French language courses but also French survey classes, French literature and history courses, and classes in English on classical French literature for undergraduates and serving as chair of the French and Italian department earlier in his career at KU.

Freeman has served as president of the North American Society for 17th-century French literature, president of the Modern Foreign Language Association of Virginia, where he taught before coming to Kansas, and president of the Kansas chapter.

Among those nominating Freeman, Mary Alice Schroeger, Lansing High School French teacher, noted that he "epitomizes what we should all be about by promoting the French-speaking world, educating others and ourselves as a lifelong endeavor, and influencing [others] so that the world is a better place."

Before joining KU's faculty in 1971 as a professor of French and chair of French and Italian, Freeman taught French at Yale University and at the University of Virginia.

Freeman made his first visit to Haiti in 1958 and has continued to work in that country during summers and between semesters. In 1992 he founded KU's Institute of Haitian Studies, one of only two in the nation focused on Haiti. The institute has published 29 papers on Haiti.

Freeman has written or edited 66 published works concerning Haiti. His most recent publication is the more than 1,000-page fifth edition of the Haitian-English Dictionary, representing some 22 years of research and including more than 57,000 Haitian words and expressions. The companion English-Haitian Dictionary is slated to appear in 2005.

He has worked with international groups in Haiti as well as serving as an instructor for United Nations observers and Peace Corps volunteers in Haiti. In 1997, Freeman received a U.S. government award for fostering Haitian-American relations.

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