Viviana V. Santos

Instructor in Modern Languages
Robert W. Kesler '47 Distinguished Professorship
Viviana V. Santos

"I have lived in between two worlds, blending my dual cultures into my own hybrid identity. I have been fortunate to travel, to learn in faraway places where beautiful foreign languages were spoken: French, Italian, American English."


M.A. Middlebury College

M.Ed. University of Pennsylvania

B.S. Georgetown University

Ph.D. Rutgers University, New Brunswick


Born and raised in San Juan de Puerto Rico, Ms. Santos spent her childhood by the ocean, walked to her local Catholic school, ran, sang in the glee club and studied French at the Alliance Française. The only child in a large, close-knit Cuban family, she was raised by strong women and hardworking men, young exiles who sang songs of lost freedom and who yearned for their homeland. She found her calling at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where her love of language was indulged. After graduating she moved to Paris and met her husband there. She returned to the United States, to Philadelphia, and earned an M.Ed. in foreign language pedagogy and eventually a Ph.D. in French literature from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She also taught in an all-girls school, and along the way she became a mother — her second child, a daughter, was born the day after she received her doctoral diploma.

Ms. Santos has spent the past decade and a half living and working in northern New England — quite a change of scenery for the island girl. She has directed both summer and term-abroad programs, served as dorm head in a girls dormitory, and enjoyed the beautiful months of fall, replete with apple picking and glorious foliage. She enjoys seeing the development of her students, watching them become adults, full of promise and good will. With them, she has been able to teach long-forgotten literature as well as new, emerging authors.

Ms. Santos loves to read, everything from 18th-century philosophy, to novels and plays, to escapist historical fiction. She enjoys writing, mostly pieces on identity — her own and that of others who have a complex heritage, as she does. She loves to visit new places, and to share travel with her students and her family. She loves the sounds and smells of the sea and spends as much time as she can near it. Ms. Santos and her husband love to try new restaurants, and to discover new and interesting places to visit and explore. She enjoys hiking and walking, but most of all she enjoys the time with her family.