The UTM Department of Language Studies hosted its annual Awards Evening and Music Gala to celebrate the academic successes of UTM students studying languages (including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Spanish, German, Latin, Persian, Italian), linguistics, language teaching and learning, and concurrent teaching and education.

Last Friday, students, their families and friends, faculty, and staff gathered in a lecture hall in the CCT Building to support those who won awards and to enjoy musical performances.

The chair of the department, Professor Emmanuel Nikiema, made welcoming remarks and introduced Professor Amy Mullin, the vice-principal academic and dean, who said a few words before turning the microphone over to the co-presidents of the Language Studies Academic Society, Caitlin Cook-Yeo and Monia Manirakiza. Mullin was on hand before intermission to congratulate each student after they received their awards; winners were announced in sections by the professors in their field.

The awards included general program awards, faculty choice awards, and scholarships, including some by external sponsors. The department also honoured course instructors who “have distinguished themselves as outstanding teachers”. The Italian awards included scholarships to study Italian abroad.

Many award-winning students were not in attendance to pick up their award because they are currently studying overseas in Florence, Italy as part of the Study in Florence program offered by the department.

This prompted Nikiema to joke that he was jealous that the French department does not offer scholarships for students to study French abroad.

The audience enjoyed musical performances by U of T Faculty of Music students pianist Lisa Tahara (who performed “Clair de Lune” by Debussy), violinists Jessica Leung and Kathryn Wiebe, accordionist Michael Bridge, and sitarist Sepideh Raissadat.

Prior to 2003, UTM only offered courses in French, German, and Italian. In 2010, UTM officially changed the name of the Department of French, German, and Italian Studies to the Department of Language Studies, putting all the languages offered at UTM under one umbrella department.