On May 1, 2012, the Teresa de Escoriaza Seminar Room was officially dedicated on the third floor of Conrad J. Schmitt Hall to honor a beloved Spanish professor's enduring legacy of excellence. Conrad J. Schmitt Hall is named for an alumnus who enjoyed a lifelong connection to Professor de Escoriaza, affectionately known as ‘Scory.' Several of her former students, including William De Lorenzo '59 '64 MA and John T. Riordan '59, attended the dedication, along with President Susan A. Cole, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Willard P. Gingerich, College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Marietta Morrissey, Linda Levine, chair of the Spanish and Italian Department, faculty members from the Department of Spanish and Italian, staff, and students.
The unforgettable Professor de Escoriaza taught Spanish at Montclair State for 30 years, from 1929 to 1959, after she emigrated to the U.S. from Spain amid the political turmoil of the time. In her three decades at Montclair State, Scory was an exceptional teacher of Spanish and French and inspired generations of students to become models of excellence in all of their life's endeavors and achieve their fullest potential.
In 2009 — exactly 50 years after Scory taught her final class at Montclair State — three of her former students, Dr. De Lorenzo, Mr. Riordan, and Mr. Woodford, decided to do something special to honor her legacy. In the year that followed, they and 54 other former Scory students — from the classes of 1942 through 1959 — came forward and contributed generously to create a beautiful and lasting testimonial to Scory. Former colleagues, family, and friends also supported the effort.
Dean Morrissey said that the de Escoriaza Seminar Room "honors a remarkable woman and exceptional teacher who had such an important impact on the students she taught," and called it "a beautiful addition to our learning environment." After the dedication and ribbon-cutting, the group was invited to attend the Sigma Delta Pi National Hispanic Honor Society Induction Ceremony, which included presentation of the annual Teresa de Escoriaza Scholarship.
"There was something about her that commanded your attention and respect," says her former student John T. Riordan '59. "She was a larger than life person who played an important role in inspiring people. Her former students had enormous impact on the teaching of foreign languages in the United States, not just in New Jersey. Every publishing house was full of Montclair State alumni from the late 1940s and 1950s, as well as the New Jersey and national Departments of Education." Several of Scory's former students, including Conrad J. Schmitt '58, Protase E. "Woody" Woodford '57 '62 MA, and Mr. Riordan, wrote foreign language textbooks that were used throughout the United States.
In his student days back in the late 1950's Dr. De Lorenzo had a memorable encounter with Scory. "It involved my misuse of the ‘you' form of the verb ‘to be' (estar)," he recalls. "In Spanish, when speaking to elders or other people who are in a position of authority, as Scory was at that time, if one wanted to ask how she was, they would ask in the formal manner, ‘¿Cómo está?' However, I, in my ignorance of that cultural issue, incorrectly used the familiar form and said ‘¿Cómo estás?' Her arms crossed, Scory looked me in the eye, and said witheringly in Spanish, ‘DeLorenzo, in what stable have we dined together?'" The professor cleverly made her point while teaching a lesson her student would never forget. It became one of many legendary ‘Scory stories' that her former students and colleagues enjoyed retelling and sharing throughout the years.
A woman ahead of her time, Professor de Escoriaza was a pioneer in the field of journalism, first as a battlefield reporter during the Spain-Morocco Conflict of 1921, then as the first woman's voice on Spanish radio, and later as a New York correspondent for major Spanish newspapers, as well as a friend and confidante to many of the major Spanish writers and artists of her day.
"Scory stood out because of her character," says Mr. Riordan. "When she told you about an author, playwright, or artist, you knew that she was speaking from personal experience. We have awe and respect for her, and admiration for the person who made us. In time we came to understand her effect on us."
"Scory will be recognized for all the years she dedicated to our Spanish language and literature teacher education program, and also for the incredible individual she was," adds Dr. De Lorenzo.
Sadly, Woody Woodford passed away in March 2012, but he knew that he had helped to make the Teresa de Escoriaza Seminar Room a reality. Dr. De Lorenzo shares one of Woody's favorite Scory stories from their student days: "She had asked Woody to participate as a dancer in one of the Spanish Festivals that the Department sponsored every three or four years. Woody pleaded with her not to include him, because he couldn't dance. She insisted, and one didn't ignore her ‘requests' to participate. So he went to one of the practices, and Scory was there. She saw him attempting to dance, and finally called to him, saying, ‘Woodford, you will not dance, you will be the announcer.'"
For more information, please contact Judy Echeveria Linder '83 at 973-655-5454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teresa de Escoriaza Seminar Room Naming Steering Committee:
- William "Bill" De Lorenzo '59 '64 MA
- John T. Riordan '59 '11 Hon.
- Protase E. "Woody" Woodford '57 '62 MA*
We are deeply grateful to the following donors for their generosity.
- Rosalinda Panebianco Albora '56
- Sister Elena F. Arminio '48
- Dorothy Eisenmann Barber '48
- Jacqueline Benevento '49
- Alberta Falcomer Cagnati '52
- Violet Kerr Chen '52
- Josephine Filippone Chiara '42 '67 MA
- Helen Korchevsky Conrad '43
- Charles Cook '43
- Mary Jane Lalevee Copenhaver '59 '61 MA
- Mary Caruthers Cossaboon '50
- Joan Egner Crew '46 '48 MA
- William '59, '64 MA and Marie Cerefice De Lorenzo '60
- Anthony Di Ionno '53
- Dina Depetro Dillenkofer '49
- Barbara Dynda Dworecki '60 '61 MA
- Rosalie Brancato Foschini '55
- Jean Torre Garretson '58
- Vernon Garretson '48
- Thomas '52 and Mary Lou Washburn Gill '55
- Delores Widmer Glaser '54
- Fernando '56, '57 MA and Claire Olivito Gomez '57
- Adrienne De Cicco Granata '58
- Sadie Koedam Greetham '53 '57 MA
- Kenneth '58 '66 MA and Rosemarie Spagnoletti Grieco '59
- Jo Cavaliere Helstrom '45 '48 MA
- George Iannacone '54 '59 MA
- Frances Ingemann '49
- Aura Firgau Kontra '47
- Dorothy Hancock La Vance '54
- Stewart '82 and Judith Echeveria Linder '83
- Alvin Lubiner '59 '62 MA
- Natalie Jardim Matinho '56
- Joan Massoth '57
- Marie Marra McGuire '54
- Mary Coleman Mildner '48
- Ernest '58 '62 MA and Rosalind Parlapiano Musmanno '58 '87 MA
- Hilton Otero '51
- David Postrion '51
- Audrey Leff Rabinowitz '56
- John T. Riordan '59 '11 Hon.
- Betty Rosenberg Robinson '47 '74 MA
- Gloria Senopole Sanok '49
- Loretta Vasleri Scarduffa '60
- Conrad J. Schmitt '58
- Marie Mauriello Scotti '49
- Harriet Surasky Selinger '56
- Jean Fineman Soichet '45
- Dolores Lombardo Stanek '51
- Roberta Brown Thaxton '57 '81 MA
- Verna Meloche Valante '55
- Russell Webster '55
- Stuart '53 and Blanche Rosenthal Weinberg '57
- Protase E. Woodford '57 '62 MA*
- In memory of Paul Hilaire '50
- In memory of Thomas Kelly '57
- In memory of Randall Marshall '50
- Olivia Gomez Escoriaza Yule '57
- Katherine Pressimone Zaretski '49 '54 MA
- Rosemarie Perri Zito '58