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Laurels for the Professor

Winter 2016

A night of poetry and a scholarship fund celebrate Ricardo Quinones’ impact on literature and the college

Open the 1970 Ayer yearbook to the faculty section and you will find Ricardo Quinones P’88 in a comfortable, confident pose—ready to guide generations of students through the Western canon of literature.

In the years since that photo was taken, Quinones has served not only as trusted guide to the literary canon but as an acclaimed critic and a poet.

A gathering at the home of Trustee Christopher Walker ’69 in December served as an ideal occasion to celebrate the poetic art of Quinones, who taught at CMC for 39 years. It was the fourth time that Quinones’ poetry has been publicly performed.

“This last venture was like a Renaissance event,” Quinones said of Walker’s hosting the event at his home, “with a Medicean prince providing a setting for cultural expression.” 

Accompanied by violinist Rachel Vetter Huang, actress Lisa Robins and CMC’s own Associate Director of Leadership Giving Todd Mandel performed pieces from many of Quinones’ collections, including A Sorting of the Ways and Finishing Touches.

“Thanks in no small measure to Ric’s guidance and friendship, I count myself one of the fortunate for whom the arts have become an important marker for a life well lived,” Walker said.

The poetry performance also coincides with an effort to establish an endowed scholarship fund in his name.

Similar to the fundraising work being done to honor emeritus economics professor Gordon Bjork with a named scholarship fund, the Ricardo Quinones Endowed Scholarship Fund is the only such fund at CMC solely focused on the humanities.

To date, the Quinones scholarship fund’s principal supporters are friends, former students, and colleagues: Jil Stark ’58, Board Trustee Chris Walker ’69, Mark Ramsey ’90, Marion Riley-Campbell P’19, and Professor Jay Martin with pledges totaling $210,000.  The fund is designed to support students interested in pursuing a major in the humanities. 

“Professor Quinones was one of the most important people in the life of my late husband (Kevin Riley '75),” Riley-Campell P’19 explained, “and their legacy of friendship has carried over to me and our son, Liam Riley ’19.”

For Ramsey ’90, “…  Ric’s ability to use his scholarship to frame the human condition resonate with me to this day.  As a lit major turned banking executive, my staff has grown accustomed to my argument that Shakespeare and Dante explain everything.”

 CMC emeritus president Jack Stark ’57 said he is especially thrilled to have a scholarship fund honoring his longtime friend and colleague.

“Ric is the type of teacher who has made CMC an exceptional academic experience for numerous students,” Stark said. “Jil and I have enjoyed our long association with Ric and his talented family.”

For Quinones, who has been writing poems for the last 17, the opportunity in December to have actors perform his work at Walker’s home is a blessing not only for himself … but also for audiences.

“More and more people come up and say that for the first time they are enjoying poetry when it is read out loud by such expert dramatic voices,” he said. “Some who have attended all four events say that each one is different; that is, in each reading they discover new meaning.”

To learn more about the effort to honor Ricardo Quinones’ singular contributions to literature and CMC’s cultural environment, contact Todd Mandel at