College Mourns Loss of Distinguished Spanish Professor


The College of Arts & Letters is mourning the loss of Distinguished Professor of Spanish Nancy Marino, who died on Sunday, March 11, after a short, but fierce, battle with cancer.

Marino taught at Michigan State University in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies for 25 years, serving as Acting Chair of the Department of Romance and Classical Languages in 1996 and Associate Chair of that department in 1995 and 1997. She also served as Acting Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at MSU from 2004 to 2008.

"Nancy was a presence and a force in our department," said Rocío Quispe-Agnoli, Interim Co-Chair of the Department of Romance and Classical Studies. "For almost 18 years, she and I shared a passion for understanding the Spanish early modern world and our archival findings. I, among many others, admired her resilience. In spite of her health problems, she continued working for all of us until almost the very end. She is missed." 

Indeed, her tireless enthusiasm in the classroom touched thousands of students during her long career. She will always be remembered as an exemplary researcher, teacher, mentor, and friend.

Anthony Grubbs

As the author of nine books and dozens of articles, her scholarship on the topics of medieval and Renaissance Spanish culture, literature, and history is world renowned. Her most recent book, El cancionero de la corte de Carlos V (y su autor Luis de Ávila), is forthcoming in 2018.

Marino was the Program Director for the Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture study abroad program in Valencia, Spain; the MSU representative to the Newberry Library’s Renaissance Center; and President of the Ibero-Medieval Association of America.

“Nancy’s influence as a teacher matches her prominence as a scholar,” said her friend and colleague, Anthony Grubbs, Associate Professor of Spanish at MSU. “Indeed, her tireless enthusiasm in the classroom touched thousands of students during her long career. She will always be remembered as an exemplary researcher, teacher, mentor, and friend.”

Portrait of a smiling woman with red hair and a blue knit scarf.
Dr. Nancy Marino


Ross Smith, a former graduate student and teaching assistant of MSU’s Spanish program, said Marino was a mentor of his.

"I've been finding it difficult to come up with all of the right words to properly honor such a brilliant mind and stupendous role model,” Smith said. “It feels like just yesterday she was giving me the biggest hug in her office and congratulating me on passing all of my exams. She was an absolute rock during all of the stressful times last year when I was studying myself to death. To think that she’s passed on and I won't be able to sit in her office anymore nor reminisce over all of the amazing literature she recommended to me is honestly hard for me to believe. The world has lost an exceptional mind and is a little bit darker without her in it.”

The world has lost an exceptional mind and is a little bit darker without her in it.

RoSS SMITH

Prior to coming to MSU in 1993, Marino was a Spanish Professor at the University of Houston from 1976 to 1993, serving as Chair of Hispanic and Classical Languages from 1983 to 1986, and she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish at Indiana University from 1974 to 1976.

She received her Ph.D. in Hispanic Language and Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and her B.A. with honors in Spanish from State University of New York at New Paltz.

"We are saddened by the loss of our devoted colleague, Dr. Marino," said Christopher P. Long, Dean of MSU's College of Arts & Letters. "She leaves a legacy of profound impact on late medieval and early Renaissance Spanish literature and history and will be dearly missed by all faculty, students, and the greater MSU community. Our condolences go out to her husband, Frank."

A funeral mass in honor of Marino is scheduled for Saturday, April 7, at the chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 955 Alton Road, East Lansing, Michigan. Visitation will be from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., with the mass beginning at 10:30 a.m. A luncheon will be served afterward.