Dr. Kathleen “Kate” Regan, professor of Spanish at the University of Portland, died unexpectedly on July 23, 2014. The University community mourns Dr. Regan, remembering her as an innovative, engaged, and popular professor who joined the faculty in 1995. In 2000 Dr. Regan was honored as the Carnegie Foundation’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She led study abroad programs to Spain and Costa Rica and focused her research projects in Spain. Dr. Regan completed her first film Sephardic Legacy of Segovia: Pentimento of the Past in 2005. This was followed by a film about Sephardic singer Judy Frankel in 2008, and an unfinished film project on Don Quijote de la Mancha. Dr. Regan incorporated filmmaking into her classes at UP as a fresh medium to engage her students in a way that writing cannot. Leading the department of Foreign Languages from 2007-2010, since 2010 Dr. Regan served as chair of the Collaborative in International Studies and Global Outreach (CISGO).
The following are Dr. Regan’s words about the purpose of her work from a November 30, 2000 Beacon interview following the announcement of Dr. Regan’s Carnegie Outstanding Teaching Award.[On becoming a Spanish professor] When I was a freshman in college, I knew that I would be teaching. I just felt that calling and that’s what it was. It was really bizarre. You’re not the greatest student on earth and then you say, “I’m going to teach college-level students” and you’re thinking “This is bizarre because that means I have to get a masters and then a doctorate.” [. . .] Also, in my senior year, metaphorically speaking, a professor tapped me on the shoulder and he said, “Are you going on to do a masters?” And that was such a key because I had been flirting with the idea but I didn’t think I had it in me to go on to graduate school. And so his asking me that and thinking I could made all the difference in the world. [On the task of teaching] I come from a family of sales-people and teachers. You know, what are you trying to do when you teach? You’re trying to get students excited. I really believe that when you’re learning foreign language it’s life transforming. It opens up a whole new world. I just like to share that. It’s really exciting when a student signs up for study abroad and then comes back and says, “Oh man! This was the greatest thing because . . . . ” I’ve been there and I know this but I still want to hear the story because it continues, it goes on.
The University Archives and Museum offer this slide show as a remembrance of Dr. Kate Regan to complement the memorial display created by the Museum in the first floor display case in Buckley Center.