In Memoriam: Dr. Edwin Lopes Francis and Dr. Henri Urbain
This year, the University mourned the loss of two professors emeriti who were instrumental in creating the department of World Languages and Cultures: Dr. Henri Urbain and Dr. Ed Francis. Urbain and Francis were both immigrants to the United States who developed passions for travel, languages and world cultures.
Ed Francis was born in Boa Vista, Cape Verde in 1918. He later moved to East Boston, where he was raised and went to school. After serving in Italy during World War II, Francis returned to the Boston area to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in Romance Languages (French and Portuguese) at Harvard University. He joined Salem State in 1956 when it was the Salem Teachers College and helped to transform the institution into Salem State College, teaching English and American literature while also developing the Foreign Languages department, where he taught French. In 1968, he helped to create the college’s general education curriculum, which will only be phased out starting in Fall 2014. Francis retired from Salem State in 1992 and spent much of his retirement traveling and visiting family around the world.
Henri Urbain was born to French parents in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1927 and later raised in France. He moved to the United States and pursued a PhD in California and then came east to Beverly, Massachusetts to join the Salem State faculty. He taught French and Spanish here for 33 years, and was an active member of the faculty. An avid traveler, Urbain also spent his retirement years discovering new cultures and visiting family members in Guatemala, Mexico and New Caledonia.
Both Urbain and Francis taught in the French program at Salem State. Unfortunately, the French major was cut in the late 1980’s and replaced in 2000 with a BA in Spanish. We hope that both professors would have been proud to know that this year we revived the French major by creating a French concentration in the new BA in World Languages and Cultures.