Dr. José B. Fernández is Dean of UCF’s College of Arts & Humanities and a Professor of History and Modern Languages and Literatures. His research interests include Latin American history and culture and Hispanics in the United States.
Fernández became UCF’s first Hispanic dean in 2006. He is the author of several books about the early Spanish explorer Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Argentine general José de San Martín, and he was a co-editor of “Herencia: The Anthology of Hispanic Liteature of the United States.” Fernández is also on the board of directors of the national Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project.
At UCF, he has served as Professor of History and Foreign Languages, as chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He also chaired President John Hitt’s Commission on the Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities. In 2001, Fernández received the Pegasus Professor Award, UCF’s highest faculty honor for extraordinary teaching, research and service. In 2006, he became the first Hispanic president of the Florida Historical Society, the state’s oldest cultural organization. Additionally, he received the Don Quijote Award for professional achievement from the Metro Orlando Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Most recently, Fernández was appointed by former President George W. Bush to serve on a 23-member commission that will explore the potential of creating a national museum dedicated to American Latinos.
On the new Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of the American Latino, Fernández will help organize a national conference to discuss the museum’s viability, help develop a fundraising plan and produce a report to Congress with a recommended plan of action to create the museum.
He received his doctorate in Spanish from Florida State University.
Fernández is available for interviews in English or Spanish.