A celebratory banquet to welcome new members of Phi Beta Kappa begins at 5 p.m. followed by the initiation at 6:30 p.m. Veronica Cortinez, Ph.D., professor of Spanish at the University of California-Los Angeles is the keynote speaker and will present the Phi Beta Kappa Lifto Amundson Lecture, "¿Se habla español?: The Challenge of the Hispanic Wor(l)d," at 7:30 p.m. Cortinez’s speech will address the creative force that can be generated when the contact of cultures, including the Hispanic and American cultures, is perceived not as a clash but as a fertile fusion of civilizations.

Cortinez received a Ph.D. in Spanish from Harvard University in 1990. Her research interests include Colonial Spanish-American Literature, Contemporary Spanish-American Narrative Fiction and Chilean Film. She has been a visiting scholar to Chile, Germany and Mexico, and she has published two books. During her two-day visit to USD, she will meet with several Spanish classes and following her lecture the USD Spanish program will host a reception in her honor.

The Lifto Amundson Lecture was established by Marjorie Lifto Amundson and her son, Dr. Loren Amundson of Sioux Falls, S.D. Both Marjorie Lifto Amundson and her son, Loren Amundson, were initiated into USD's Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. For more information on the evening’s events, contact Judith Sebesta, president of The University of South Dakota Department of History, at (605) 677-5218.

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