The Department of Spanish and Portuguese at The Ohio State University expresses its sorrow upon the death on June 20, 2012, of Maureen Ahern, Professor Emeritus of Spanish, Latin American Literature and Culture.
Born in New Hampshirte, Professor Ahern was a 1958 magna cum laude graduate of the University of New Hampshire. She earned a Bachelor's and Doctorate degrees, both in Literature, from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Lima, Peru in 1960 and 1961, respectively. After many years of work and travel throughout Mexico and Peru, Professor Ahern returned to the United State in 1972 and became a Professor of Spanish at Arizona State University. From 1990 until shortly before her death, she was Professor of Spanish, Latin American Literature and Culture at The Ohio State University.
Professor Ahern was a rigorous scholar, extraordinary teacher, and generous intellectual who deeply loved Latin American peoples, literatures and cultures, and very especially the indigenous cultures. Over the last twenty-two years at The Ohio State University, she was crucial in the development of the program in Latin American Cultures and Literatures in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and an indefatigable champion of the Center for Latin American Studies. A staunch promoter of everything pertaining to Latin America, she developed at Ohio State the program in Colonial Studies, introduced the study of indigenous cultures, and was instrumental in the development of the M.A. in Latin American Studies, the minor in Andean & Amazonian Studies, and the program in Quechua.
All of this is just a small part of her legacy, because her most important gift is embedded in the knowledge and dedication she gave to her students and the experienced camaraderie she shared with her colleagues. Professor Ahern was a fighter with a passion to the very end.