Spanish program and professor receive national recognition

Friends University’s chapter of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society/Sigma Delta Pi has been named an “honor chapter” for its outstanding activities in 2017-18, an award that was bestowed to only 10 chapters nationwide in 2018. Dr. Jerry Smartt, professor of Spanish and director of foreign languages, was also selected for the national Minaya Alvar-Fanez Award for outstanding chapter adviser of the year.

This is the 12th time since 1996 Friends University has received the distinction of “honor chapter,” and Dr. Smartt has served as chapter adviser since Friends University’s first honor chapter award.

“These awards are a testament to the strength of our Spanish program and club,” said Dr. Kenneth Stoltzfus, academic dean at Friends University. “Under Dr. Smartt’s leadership, the Spanish program has developed a unique curriculum that combines an academically rigorous focus on interpretation and translation with intensive service-learning and study abroad opportunities.  This combination of academic rigor, practical skill development, and experiential learning opportunities prepares our Spanish students to fulfill the Friends University mission by using their interpretation and translation skills to honor God and serve others.”

The Sigma Delta Pi chapter at Friends University is actively involved on campus and in the community. Some of the projects the chapter has undertaken include a translation partnership with the University of Kansas School of Medicine, establishment of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization and Latino Leaders, hosting Wichita BizFest, and participation in the Mid-American Chapter of the American Translators Association. On campus, the chapter has hosted a Cesar Chavez Day with the campus’ Hispanic American Leadership Organization.

Each summer, the 615-plus chapters of Sigma Delta Pi across the U.S. are asked to submit an annual report detailing their activities and projects from the academic year. Based on the reports, the national executive committee chooses approximately 10 to 15 awardees annually. Chapter recognitions are based on the caliber of chapter projects that reflect the Sigma Delta Pi mission of honoring excellence in the study of the Spanish language, contributing to cultural understanding and upholding the goals of the society.

For more information about Friends University’s Spanish program, contact or 316-295-5100.

Friends University, a Christian university of Quaker heritage, equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.