David Gies, relentlessly encouraging and utterly devoted

By Christine Blackshaw Naberhaus

After my first year of graduate school at the University of Virginia, I had decided that I was not going to pursue a PhD. Unlike many of the students I knew in the doctoral program, and in my cohort completing the Masters degree, I had not found a subject that had lit a “fire in my belly” to make me want to keep studying and writing.

Consequently, I signed up for David Gies’s Enlightenment and Romanticism course because I thought it would best prepare me for the Comprehensive Exams. However, thanks to David, I found a period that not only inspired me to pursue a doctorate, but to continue studying Spanish literature. I was hooked.

Despite his polite, friendly demeanor, David was not an easy professor or dissertation director. He was demanding, attentive to detail, and honest in his critiques of my work. He was also relentlessly encouraging and utterly devoted to making me a better scholar and teacher. Whatever accomplishments I have made as a scholar, modest in comparison to his, I owe almost entirely to David.

Long after my time at UVA, David has continued to provide professional mentoring and support. When I present at conferences, he makes attending my sessions a priority. When I publish an article, he is one of the first to read it and send me unsolicited feedback.

David: I wish you the best of luck in your retirement, and I know that you will continue to inspire my envy with your jet-setting adventures!


Christine Blackshaw Naberhaus

Associate Professor of Spanish Literature and Culture

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

Mount Saint Mary’s University

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