I was quite delighted to read the interview with Prof. Aurora Camacho de Schmidt in the July issue of the Bulletin. Aurora has been an inspirational figure to me. If it were not for her encouragement, her teachings, and her presence in my life at Swarthmore, I would not have been where I am: teaching Spanish-American literature and culture to students at a university in California. Aurora has not only given me the foundation to think critically and analyze literary texts but also the appreciation of literature as an essential part of being human.
Through her classes I have learned how literature makes us reflect on how to become better human beings, posing questions on values and principles. What I sincerely appreciate about Aurora is the sense of balance she was able to maintain between her areas of activism—inside and outside the college community. A 21-year career inspiring young students is truly a great accomplishment, more so when those young students are now carrying on her legacy and working hard on equal education and equal opportunities for everyone, no matter their race, gender, and ethnicity. As a former student and a friend, I am deeply grateful for all she has contributed to my intellectual upbringing and for being an inspirational figure who has changed many lives. Swarthmore is such a great college largely because of faculty members such as Aurora. Finally, I wish her the best in her life after a well-deserved retirement. I hope Aurora will have time to read, to travel, and to be with her family and friends. And, as the poet Ernesto Cardenal wrote, “Que tengas un gran día … a menos que tengas otros planes,” a phrase meaning, “I hope you have a great day … unless you have other plans.”
Ryusuke Ishikawa ’97