Department of Spanish and Portuguese

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Bill Cudlipp (1940-2016)

Bill at his 65th birthday celebration

William Samuel “Bill” Cudlipp III passed away after a brief illness at Madison’s Meriter Hospital on November 21, 2016. Bill was born in Richmond, Virginia, on Nov. 19, 1940. He was an exceptionally bright and promising student, receiving a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1962 and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish from UW-Madison in 1963 and 1974, respectively. His doctoral thesis, written under the direction of Mack H. Singleton, was entitled Quevedo's Indebtedness to Four Latin Authors of the Silver Age. He was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship in 1962-1963, and the UW-Madison University Fellowship for two consecutive years between 1963-1965. While working on his dissertation, from 1967 to 1973, Bill was a full-time instructor in the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Richmond, where he taught undergraduate courses at all levels in language and literature and upper-level courses in Spanish Golden Age literature, his area of specialization. From 1975 to 1980, Dr. Cudlipp was Adjunct Instructor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages at the Commonwealth University (in Richmond, Virginia), before returning to Madison in 1981 as a Visiting Assistant Professor. In 1985, he was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and held that position until 2001, when he was promoted to Faculty Associate. 
   Since his appointment in 1985, and for nearly three decades, Bill served as language coordinator of all levels of language instruction, from first semester to third-year Spanish. As coordinator, he was solely responsible for training, supervising and evaluating several generations of teaching assistants. Looking back, it is truly admirable that at a time when enrollments in Spanish were perhaps even higher than they are nowadays, Dr. Cudlipp succeeded in fulfilling by himself the duties that are currently shared among several coordinators and a language program director. He had a knack for untangling the knotty situations that TAs at times confront. Bill was a compassionate and beloved coordinator. Not only did he excel in every aspect of language coordination (from running orientation sessions and training workshops for new TAs, to designing syllabi and composing exams, observing TA-taught classes, mentoring TAs, and performing the sundry administrative tasks required by his position), but his performance in the classroom was consistently outstanding. He taught a wide array of courses, from introductory to intermediate courses, such as surveys of Early Spanish Literature (Spanish 322), to classes in advanced language practice. Bill was a devoted, effective and creative teacher, clearly communicating subtle and complex ideas, and successfully eliciting his students’ participation. For many consecutive summers, he contributed in unstinting and vital ways to planning and teaching the Advanced Placement Seminar for high school teachers. This seminar played a defining role in cementing the collaborative ties between the Department and Wisconsin high schools and thus strengthening the cooperation between the university and secondary level instruction. 
   Dr. Cudlipp also served for several years as a valuable and active member of the Undergraduate Studies and TA Review Committees. His contributions to these two committees were both crucial and lasting, particularly in the TA Review Committee, which he was instrumental in shaping when it emerged as the main committee of the Spanish Language Program in 1999. Bill was also the advisor for Sigma Delta Pi, the local chapter of the Spanish National Honor Society, on whose Coordination Committee he also served. Bill has mentored, trained and advised successive generations of graduate students. In recognition of his selfless and superior service, the Department nominated him for the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service to the University in 2001, and in 2011, for an Indefinite Appointment. In 2009, he received the University Housing’s Honored Instructor Award. His personal investment in language instruction and coordination, his impeccable professionalism, vast experience, erudition and unstinting commitment for almost thirty years, have guaranteed the excellence and vitality of our language program during a time of expansion and steady growth. 
   His quiet and gracious demeanor, his sharp and mischievous wit, his keen intelligence, his warmth and unassuming generosity will be long and fondly remembered by those who knew him. Without his familiar and affable presence, the corridors of Van Hise Hall will for a long time and for many of us continue to seem all too empty.


-Submitted by Luís Madureira, Professor and Chair, Department of Spanish & Portuguese