English Literature and Language

The St. Mary’s University Department of English Literature and Language focuses on the human experience to enhance competency in visual, oral and written communication, to develop respect for multiple perspectives through analysis and to explore the world through the lens of ethical scholarship, rhetorical inquiry and creativity in the pursuit of the common good.

Find us on social media to view photos and videos of students, faculty and staff in the Department of English, Literature and Language:

Student Spotlights

Renée Padilla
Master’s Student in Library Science, University of North Texas

“As a graduate of St. Mary’s University, I’m excited to continue my journey at the University of North Texas to study Library Science. 

The English Literature and Language Department prepared me in many of the expected ways—my coursework strengthened my writing and introduced me to inspiring authors and poets. But more so, the ELL community helped me discover myself.”

Alex Salinas
Marketing Communications Specialist, Sirius Computer Solutions

“The Master of Arts in English Literature and Language program at St. Mary’s University prepared me well to be a writing professional and a poet. Above all, the rigorous theory courses supplied me with the passion to be a purposeful lifelong reader—the guy who will now always gift books year-round to friends, because books are perspective, and knowledge is our greatest liberator.

Did I mention the professors are pretty dope?”

Lane Riggs
Ph.D. Student in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design, Clemson University

“The English Literature and Language program at St. Mary’s University was so welcoming and friendly, I immediately made friends within the program. And of course, a lot of the ELL faculty are super helpful and are always there for advice.

It’s a small community and you can really tell that the faculty want you to succeed and will do what they can to help you.”

English Literature and Language Events

Each year, the department holds a variety of events to enrich the education of our students outside a classroom setting.

In June 2020, the department held a virtual event entitled “Black Lives Matter: A Reading and Rally for Change.” The event was recorded and can be viewed in two parts below.

Contact Josh Doty, Ph.D. at bdoty@stmarytx.edu for more information.

Undergraduate Research

Each spring semester, St. Mary’s University hosts its annual Research Symposium and Creative Activities Exhibition, which fosters scholarly dialogue among students and faculty. Presenters at the exhibition display an assortment of projects including scientific investigations, analytical reviews or projects, innovations/inventions, honors theses, senior projects and original works of art, media, poetry or writing. The event is open to undergraduate, graduate and law students.

The Spring 2020 Symposium was held virtually and their presentations were published in an interactive ebook.

Accessible Literature

There are virtually no ASL interpretations of higher level readings, such as Homer’s “The Odyssey,” so a group of former and current students from the Department of English Literature and Language decided to change that.

The endeavor was made possible through a $1,500 grant from Humanities Texas, a nonprofit with a goal to create opportunities for lifelong learning and advance education throughout the state.

Professors Emeriti

  • Brother Anthony P. Frederick, S.M., Professor Emeritus of English, 1978
  • Brother Louis A. Schuster, S.M., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of English, 1988.
  • SM Sister Ann Semel, SSND, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of English and Communication Studies, 2010.
  • Peggy Curet, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of English and Communication Studies, 2016.
  • Rose Marie Cutting, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of English and Communication Studies, 2017.
  • Alice Kersnowski, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of English Literature and Language, 2022.
  • Richard Pressman headshot

    Richard S. Pressman, Ph.D., taught and served as an administrator at St. Mary’s for 37 years. He was a specialist in the period of American Realism and Naturalism, then moved to the Early American novel. His favorite course, a graduate, was the History of the U.S. Novel.

    During his time at St. Mary’s, he served in Spanish-speaking countries four times, once as a Fulbright fellow in Peru and three times in St. Mary’s programs in Mexico and Spain. [He and his wife have travelled to at least 20 countries, mainly Spanish-speaking.]

    He is presently the publisher of Early American Reprints, a not-for-profit rescuer of out-of-print Early American texts. He also leads a faculty book discussion club, the Classics Reading Group.

  • Gwendolyn Diaz headshot

    Gwendolyn Díaz-Ridgeway obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Texas in Austin and specializes in Comparative Literature with concentrations in Spanish, French and English. She served as Graduate Director for the English Master´s Degree and has taught Comparative Literature, Literary Theory and Latin American Literature.

    She founded and directed Las Americas Letters Series in Literature and the Arts, an annual series that features authors and artists of the Americas and has served as President of the South Central Modern Language Association.

    Her awards include the Fulbright and Carnegie Mellon Scholar Awards and the Distinguished Professor Awards for both Graduate and Undergraduate teaching.

    Currently she is Advisor to the San Antonio Library´s Book Festival, heads the Women´s Committee of PEN Argentina and is on the board of the University Women´s Club of Buenos Aires. She continues to publish scholarship in the area of Science and Literature as well as essays and short stories.

    You can reach her by email at gdiazridgeway@stmarytx.edu.

Professors Emeriti

Academic Programs in the Department of English Literature and Language


English Communication

Master of Arts in English Literature and Language

Graduate Certificate for Dual Credit Teaching in English Literature and Language

Mexican American Studies

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