From ILAS To LLILAS: The Long Endowment
University of Texas historian Charles Hackett and four of his colleagues persuaded the Board of Regents in 1940 to found an Institute of Latin American Studies, later to be known worldwide by its acronym, ILAS. The founders noted that the University of Texas already had a remarkable library collection of Latin American materials and that Texas, because of its Hispanic heritage and its proximity to Mexico, should be particularly concerned with Latin America. Thus, UT's Institute of Latin American Studies became the first academic center of its kind in the United States.
Sixty years later, in November 2000, President Larry Faulkner announced that UT alums Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long of Austin had pledged an endowment gift of $10 million to support the Institute—"one of the crown jewels of this University"—in building toward greater excellence. As one outcome of this gift, the Institute is now known as the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and has the acronym LLILAS.
In making this gift, Joe and Teresa Long noted that they were drawn to the Institute because they wanted to make better something that was already very good. "This is our way of acknowledging the importance of Latin America in the future of this country and, therefore, the critical role that the Institute continues to play in forging closer ties to Latin America," said Mrs. Long.
The Lozano Long endowment is structured so that 60 percent of its resources will benefit students in a variety of ways:
- Undergraduate scholarships for Latin American studies majors
- Scholarships for study and research in Latin America for both undergraduate and graduate students
- Graduate fellowships to recruit the best graduate students both in the United States and Latin America Teaching fellowships that will allow LLILAS to place Spanish- speaking discussion sections in courses across the University.
The endowment also recognizes that research and teaching are major components of the University's mission. It provides for visiting professorships to bring distinguished scholars from Latin America to teach at UT; professorships to support the hiring of Latin Americanist faculty and thereby maintain the integrity and preeminence of our professorate; and funds to form international research teams to produce and gather the best information on important issues like immigration, economic development and use of resources. In this endeavor, the Institute will become increasingly a think tank charged with educating policy makers and the public at large on such matters.
In 1940 Professor Hackett and his colleagues showed extraordinary vision in founding the Institute of Latin American Studies. Since that time, countless faculty, students, librarians and administrators have built on their vision to bring the Institute to its current status as the premier center on Latin American studies in the United States. And now with the Longs' generous gift, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies will build on that legacy, moving from excellence to greater excellence for many generations to come.
Photo by Heather Teague
(From an article by former LLILAS Director Nicolas Shumway in Discovery: Research and Scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin, vol. 16, no. 1, special issue, The Latin American Initiative, 2002.)