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Release: March 17, 1999

French Ministry of Education honors UI professor

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa professor has earned one of the highest honors conferred by the French Ministry of Education. Jacques Bourgeacq, a UI professor of French and Italian, has been named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques, in recognition of his efforts to promote French culture.

Bourgeacq said the honor dates back to the early 19th century and is given to professors often near the end of their careers after they have made substantial contributions to education, letters, or artistic endeavors that extend the reach of French culture. Bourgeacq will receive his award at a ceremony at the French consulate in Chicago. The date has not yet been determined.

In March 1998, Bourgeacq organized an international conference bringing together writers and critics from around the world to discuss the theme of ethnicity and identity in the Francophone islands of the Indian ocean (Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion), a cultural area overlooked to date by Francophone scholars in the United States. He said it is likely that his nomination for Chevalier was intended to reward his efforts in organizing this conference.

Bourgeacq is the second UI professor to receive this honor from the French Ministry of Education. Rick Altman, a professor of French and communication studies, was named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques in 1984 and was made an officer in 1991.