UH professor knighted by French government
For UH French professor Claudine Giacchetti, director of the French Program and the study abroad program to Angers, France, a call from the French Embassy about sending some important documents turned out to be much more.
Giacchetti was announced last month as a Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, or the Knight in the Order of Academic Palms, by the French Ministry of National Education for upholding and promoting French culture abroad.
“I had been nominated for this prestigious award more than a year ago,” Giacchetti said, “but it was still a big surprise to learn that the French Ministry of Education had approved my nomination.”
Though Giacchetti has received many accolades throughout the years, to her, this award is the most prestigious she has ever received.
“To be recognized by the French Ministry of Education is something really big,” Giacchetti said.
“It was just a great honor to have been selected for this title … It really pleases me that all I’ve done has been noted and is being recognized.”
The Order of the Academic Palms was created by Napoleon I in 1808 and is the oldest non-military French decoration. John W. Roberts, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, recognized the importance of the award.
“We are thrilled to learn that our colleague, Dr. Claudine Giacchetti, is being recognized as a Chevalier of the L’Ordre des Palmes Académiques,” Roberts said in a press release.
“This historically significant award is held by only a handful of American academics. It adds to Dr. Giacchetti’s reputation as an outstanding scholar and teacher of French and Francophone literature and culture.”
Giacchetti’s students are also proud of her achievement. French sophomore André Brown said his professor’s new title reassures him of the quality of the program.
“When I found out about Dr. Giacchetti receiving this award, I immediately thought, ‘Wow, what an honor to be recognized all the way from France in the French department at the University of Houston out of all places in the world,’” Brown said.
“I feel very privileged to know that I have the opportunity to be the student of a professor with such prestige. I know that I receive nothing less than a royal education in French because of Dr. Giacchetti.”