Have You Met Rutgers-Newark?

A "distinguished woman," scholar and mentor

Dr. Asela Laguna-Diaz’s scholarship is matched by her commitment to the students of Rutgers-Newark, a fact that was recognized by the University in 2001 when it honored her with a Paul Robeson Faculty Award. The award was in recognition of her “exceptional contribution to student life on campus, leadership and service to the Rutgers community,” and her “unrelenting support of undergraduate students.” Her service to students has taken many forms: Mentor to minority students, academic advisor to Spanish and Hispanic Civilization majors, and advisor to student organizations.

Laguna-Diaz has organized several major humanities conferences that underscore the international flavor of the campus, including a multidisciplinary conference on the Dominican Republic, as well as several series of lectures on Puerto Rican and Hispanic literature and culture.

In addition, she was a driving force behind efforts to bring Portuguese literary and cultural activities to the Rutgers-Newark campus, which is located in a city that boasts the largest Portuguese community in New Jersey and one of the largest Portuguese populations in North America. She also has been involved in successful efforts to establish a major in Portuguese studies at Rutgers-Newark.

La Tribuna, the oldest Spanish newspaper in New Jersey, recognized her as a “Distinguished Woman 2000,” awarded to women who distinguish themselves in the Hispanic community.

Laguna-Diaz holds the master and doctorate degree in arts from the University of Illinois, and the B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico.

Laguna-Diaz has written and lectured extensively on Christopher Columbus and how he is portrayed in world literature, and is an expert on comparative Anglo-Hispanic Relations Latin American, Hispanic and Puerto Rican literature and the global impact of the Portuguese language.

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