Regents Professor to be Honored by French Government for Commitment to Education
KINGSVILLE - April 15, 2010
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For nearly 40 years Texas A&M University-Kingsville Regents Professor Dr. Jacqueline Thomas has worked to promote French culture and language throughout the country, and now the French government is recognizing her years of dedication.
Thomas will be honored with the Ordre des Palmes Academiques—a French order of chivalry for academics and educators originally established by French emperor Napoleon at the turn of the 19th century. According to the French Consulate, the Ordre des Palmes Academiques is awarded upon the proposal by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to foreigners or French people living abroad who contribute effectively to the intellectual, scientific and artistic expansion of France in the world.
Representatives from the French Consulate in Houston will present Thomas with a medal and officially welcome her into the order during a private ceremony Tuesday, April 27 at the President’s Home on the A&M-Kingsville campus.
The Cultural Service of the Consulate General of France in Houston presents approximately two candidates for the award each year. According to the French Consulate, the award is being granted as recognition by the French authorities of Thomas’ outstanding dedication to the promotion of the French language and culture in the United States.
“This is such an enormous honor to be selected by the French government to receive an award started by Napoleon,” Thomas said. “It is the height of my career.”
Thomas’ career in education began teaching in 1969. She joined the Texas A&M-Kingsville faculty in 1981. Since then, Thomas has worked to bring the French experience to South Texas. As a professor in A&M-Kingsville’s language and literature department, Thomas has incorporated authentic elements of French culture in her classroom and beyond, sponsoring concerts of French music and theatre, screenings of French films, French food tasting and colloquiums focused on a host of French themes, from famous authors to popular composers.
Her commitment to promoting a well-rounded French education, however, goes well-beyond the campus of A&M-Kingsville. Thomas frequently leads student groups on visits to Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Houston to experience everything from French plays to French restaurants. Thomas has even shared her love for France with students by serving as a chaperon during student trips to Paris and Agen. She also has served in leadership positions in various professional organizations and has presented and published her research of French culture and literature around the country.
Thomas’ devotion to all things French stems from a deep admiration for the nation’s culture, contributions to the world and the historic friendship it has shared with the United States.
“This is quite overwhelming,” Thomas said. “This is recognition from the French government that what you’ve done has made a difference.”
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