A Brief History of MACLAS

   “MACLAS, sí, existe!”  So began the letter Michael Burke sent to his colleagues on May 21, 1979 in his capacity as Acting Secretary-Treasurer of the new professional organization.  MACLAS was established the previous month at a meeting held in Pittsburgh during the Eighth National Meeting of LASA.  The first Executive Committee included Acting President Charles Ameringer (Pennsylvania State University), Robert Alexander (Rutgers University), G. Pope Atkins (United States Naval Academy), Burke (Villanova University), Ivo Domínguez (University of Delaware), M. Kathleen Dutt (James Madison University), Judith Ewell (College of William and Mary), and G. Harvey Summ (Georgetown University).  The first MACLAS Newsletter was published in fall 1979, and the first annual conference was held in 1980 at the University of Delaware. Regular membership dues were $5, student membership dues were $2.

   Since 1979 MACLAS has grown in many exciting ways. The first prize, the Arthur P. Whitaker Prize, was given in 1982 for the best book or article written by a MACLAS member. That prize went to Carmelo Mesa-Lago. The Whitaker Prize became the best book prize after the creation of the Harold Eugene Davis Prize for the best article. Student prizes were established in the late 1990s—the John D. Martz III Prize for best graduate student paper and the Juan Espadas Prize for the best undergraduate paper. The Judy B. McInnis Distinguished Service Award was first given in 2008. The first Władysław Maryan Froelich Research Grant to support member research was awarded in 2012.

   Volume I of MACLAS Latin American Essays was published in 1987 as a collection of MACLAS conference papers from 1986. MACLAS published twenty-eight issues of Latin American Essays before suspending the journal in 2015 to make way for the on-line and fully professional peer-reviewed journal The Middle Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies.

Past MACLAS Presidents

2015-16            Meghan McInnis-Dominguez, University of Delaware
2014–15          Diane Johnson, Lebanon Valley College
2013–14          Jeffrey Pugh, Providence College
2012–13          Betsy Kiddy, Albright College
2011–12           Ken Lehman, Hampden Sydney College
2010–11           Ivani Vassoler, SUNY Fredonia
2009–10          Regina Root, The College of William and Mary
2008–09          John Stolle-McAllister, University of Maryland Baltimore County
2007–08          Carolyn Bell, Kutztown University
2006–07          Anna Adams, Muhlenberg College
2005–06          Brian Turner, Randolph-Macon College
2004–05          Barbara Tenenbaum, Library of Congress
2003–04          John Incledon, Albright College
2002–03          David Sheinin, Trent University
2001–02          Judy B. McInnis, University of Delaware
2000–01          Hanna Stewart-Gambino, Lehigh University
1999–2000        James A. Baer, Northern Virginia Community College
1998–99          Clarence Zuvekas Jr., Consulting economist
1997–98          Dan Masterson, U.S. Naval Academy
1996–97          Arvilla Payne-Jackson, Howard University
1995–96          Alvin Cohen, Lehigh University
1994–95          Elizabeth Espadas, Wesley College
1993–94          Harold Greer, Virginia Commonwealth University
1992–93          Mark Wasserman, Rutgers University
1991–92          Winthrop R. Wright, University of Maryland
1990–91          Harold Sims, University of Pittsburgh
1989–90          Vincent Peloso, Howard University
1988–89          Vera Blinn Reber, Shippensburg University
1987–88          Robert Alexander, Rutgers University
1986–87          Jack Child, American University
1985–86          Judith Ewell, The College of William and Mary
1984–85          Michael Burke, Villanova University
1983–84          John D. Martz, Penn State University
1982–83          G. Pope Atkins, U.S. Naval Academy
1981–82          Ivo Domínguez, University of Delaware
1980­–81          Charles Ameringer, Penn State University
1979–80          Charles Ameringer (acting), Penn State University