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Olga Gallego-Smith

We’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our friend and colleague, Dr. Olga Gallego-Smith, who has recently retired from RLL.  Olga came to the University of Michigan in 1994 as the Spanish 101 course coordinator.   Since then, she has contributed significantly to the department with her teaching, scholarship and service. 

Olga excelled in teaching all courses in the Elementary Spanish Program, as well as a variety of upper level courses such as  SPN 415, Problems in Translation and SPN 333, Techniques of Pronunciation and Oral Expression, among many others.  In addition to teaching, Olga designed her courses to provide students with the tools they needed to succeed in their careers after graduating.  Olga nurtured extremely close relationships with her students both inside and beyond the classroom.  As one student said, “Usted es una profesora muy apasionada, dedicada y amable.”  (You are a very passionate, dedicated and nice professor). 

After working as a coordinator, Olga went on to direct the Elementary Spanish Program from 1996 to 2006.  During this period, Olga’s scholarly pursuits contributed to positive changes in the program, which are still in place  today.  For example she published and presented on the miniconferencias, which are short  listening activities that  focus on culture and engage students intellectually.  These activities stemmed from the 2nd year Spanish textbook, Más allá de las palabras, which she co-authored.

Outside of RLL, It’s not surprising that Olga has given back to the community. Her role as interpreter for Hope Dental Clinic is instrumental in providing interpreting services for Hispanic patients.  The number of interpreters has increased there due to her recruitment efforts. When she’s not able to meet with patients in person due to her travels, she provides services through Zoom.  Her interest in interpreting and translation services is the focus of her new company, LinguaSol. Her company provides a variety of language services from her current location in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

We would like to thank Olga for all that she offered us and RLL both professionally and personally. We are grateful for all the training, mentoring and friendship she gave us during her time  in RLL. We already miss her and know that she is enjoying her retirement in Vieques walking on the beach, going to concerts with friends and going on excursions with her beloved dog Pancho. Enjoy your retirement, amiga! Thank you for everything! 

-Lourdis and Ana Banana

Olga Gallego-Smith pictured with colleagues Ann Hilberry and Maria Dorantes

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