Centenary professor receives prestigious honor from French government
SHREVEPORT, LA — Dr. Dana Kress, professor of French and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages at Centenary, has been elevated to the rank of Officier in the French Ordre des Palmes Académiques, one of the French government’s most prestigious awards recognizing individuals who further French intellectual, scientific, and artistic achievements around the world. The Consul General of France in New Orleans, Grégor Trumel, presented Kress with the honor during a ceremony at Shreveport’s Robinson Film Center on Tuesday, April 11.
“Dana was one of the first high-ranking officials I called when I arrived in Louisiana in 2014,” said Trumel during the ceremony. “I immediately felt his passion and enthusiasm, and I remember him telling me about Centenary in Paris, a great and unique program. We view Centenary College as one of the most important centers of French culture and higher education in Louisiana and in the entire United States.”
Trumel cited Kress’s leadership in developing the Centenary in Paris program and as editor-in-chief of the College’s Éditions Tintamarre heritage language press as evidence of his sustained contributions to French education and culture in Louisiana. Kress has also been active in statewide organizations such as the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) and was honored as 2011 Humanist of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.
In 2009, Kress was named an honorary consul of France for North Louisiana by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, entrusting him with the mission of representing the French Republic in North Louisiana. Trumel praised Kress’s work in this position, highlighting the work he has done with students and French tourists and calling him “a very strong honorary consul.”
After accepting the Officier medal and ribbon from Trumel, Kress took the opportunity to highlight the many educational and cultural relationships linking Centenary and Shreveport to France. He noted that the audience included local French teachers, French natives, French exchange students studying at Centenary, and Americans with French heritage, all of whom had contributed to an appreciation for French language and culture in our community.
“I’ve been able to kind of ride the wave,” Kress explained. “My students who study French are wonderful because they carry on something for the future. There are students here tonight who are working on editions of Louisiana work for Tintamarre.”
The awards ceremony honoring Kress was held in conjunction with the Robinson Film Center’s French Film Week, presented jointly by the Consulate General of France in New Orleans and the Centenary Film Society. The French-language films Frantz and My Life as a Zucchini screened at the Robinson Film Center April 9 through 13.
A photo gallery from the Ordre des Palmes Académiques ceremony is available at http://centenaryla.zenfolio.com/french_consul.
About the Award
The Order of Academic Palmes (Ordre des Palmes Académiques) was founded in 1808 by Napoléon I, who established the honorary titles of Titulaire, Officier de L’Université, and Officier d’Académie as awards for devotion and accomplishment in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and research. Since being raised to the status of the Order under the Minister of Education in 1955, this award has three ranks: Chevalier, Officier, and Commandeur. French citizens living abroad and foreign (non-French) nationals may receive this award for contributing significantly to furthering French intellectual, scientific, and artistic achievements in the world.