The Catholic University of America

Sept. 21, 2010

Virgil Nemoianu Receives Star of Romania


Virgil Nemoianu


The Romanian ambassador to the United States has bestowed on Virgil Nemoianu, William J. Byron Distinguished Professor of Literature and professor of philosophy, the Star of Romania — the country’s highest civilian honor.

Ambassador Adrian Vierita presented the Star of Romania medal with the rank of commander to Nemoianu during a Sept. 18 ceremony at the Embassy of Romania in Washington, D.C. The honor recognizes the professor’s significant contributions to the world of literature.

An announcement in Monitorul Oficial, which is akin to Congressional Record, notes Nemoianu’s “pedagogical activity … the talent and dedication he has proved in the world of literature” and the “high moral and civic spirit that has established him as a standard for younger generations of Romanian and American students.”

About 12 of Nemoianu’s CUA colleagues, including L.R. Poos, dean of arts and sciences, attended the ceremony.

“This very significant award is a tribute to Professor Nemoianu’s international stature as a scholar,” said Poos. “At the award ceremony, I was especially impressed by the emphasis that the ambassador placed upon Professor Nemoianu’s work as an uplifting example to Romanians through the momentous changes that the nation has undergone in recent years.”

Occupied by the Soviets in 1944, Romania became a Communist “people's republic” in 1947. Seizing power in 1965, dictator Nicolae Ceausescu ruled the country until he was overthrown in 1989. Former Communists dominated the government until 1996 when they were swept from power.

Born in Bucharest in 1940, Nemoianu came to the United States in 1969 to study at the University of California, San Diego, where he earned his doctorate in 1971. He started teaching at CUA in summer 1979 as an associate professor of English. He served as director of the comparative literature program for 15 years and as associate academic vice president for graduate studies from 1989 to 1991. He was named the William J. Byron Distinguished Professor of Literature in 1994.

His research interests include literary theory, Romanticism, 19th- and 20th-century intellectual history, 20th-century literature, and religion and literature. Nemoianu has written, edited or translated 16 books. He also has written more than 600 articles and reviews, and given more than 65 lectures in Europe, America, Africa and Asia.

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