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2011 News Releases

Longwood recognizes contributions of two deceased faculty members

April 14, 2011

Frieda E. Myers and Dr. Maria C. Milian-Silveira
Frieda E. Myers and Dr. Maria C. Milian-Silveira

Two retired longtime Longwood University faculty members, Frieda E. Myers and Dr. Maria C. Milian-Silveira, died recently.

Myers, associate professor emerita of music, who died April 2, taught at Longwood from 1967 until retiring in 1994. Dr. Silveira, professor emerita of modern languages, who died April 3, taught Spanish at Longwood from 1964 until retiring in 1992. She lived in Farmville.

Myers, who moved in 2007 from Farmville to Franklin, Ind., was a founder of the Longwood Chamber Music Series. She taught piano and keyboarding courses and during her Longwood career performed frequently, often in duo-piano collaboration with Dr. Paul Hesselink, now professor emeritus of music. She spent many summers on the staff of the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Mich.

A native of Daviess County, Ind., Myers came to Longwood after teaching as assistant professor of music at Otterbein College in Ohio from 1955 to 1964. She also taught in public schools in Indiana and Ohio for several years. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Jimma, Ethiopia, in 1964-66. She was a summa cum laude graduate of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and had a master's degree from Indiana University.

Dr. Silveira, a native of Cuba who emigrated to the United States in 1962, initiated Longwood's partnership program with the University of the Andes in Venezuela, directed the study-abroad program at the University of Madrid and the Summer Spanish Institutes for teachers, founded Longwood's chapter of the national Spanish honor society, Sigma Delta Pi, and was president of the Virginia chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portugese for five years. She was the author of three books, one of which, on the late Uruguayan novelist Juan Carlos Onetti, is now considered a standard text on Onetti. She received the Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Foreign Language Association of Virginia in 1985, Longwood's Maria Bristow Starke Award for Faculty Excellence in 1989, and the Woman of the Year Award from the Business and Professional Women's Club of Farmville in 1986.

A scholarship in her name, the Maria Milian Silveira Scholarship, was established in 2005, thanks to a generous gift from Michael Hackett '85. The endowed scholarship, designed to attract outstanding Spanish majors to Longwood, is awarded to an incoming freshman who intends to earn a degree in Spanish.

Dr. Silveira earned a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, a master's degree from Stephen F. Austin University, and a doctorate and the equivalent of a bachelor's degree from the Universidad de Oriente in Cuba. She was Cuba's Teacher of the Year in 1958.

Three of her four daughters are Longwood graduates. Virginia "Ginny" Gills received a bachelor's in 1989 and a master's in 2005 and Maria Harris-Lenett and Mireya Hayes, who are twins, received bachelor's degrees in 1974. The other daughter, Rosa Mann, also attended Longwood, as did two of Dr. Silveira's grandchildren, Grant C. Hayes II and Laura Elizabeth Mann. Dr. Silveira's husband, Michael A. Silveira Jr., who died in July 2009, was Longwood's director of audiovisual and technical services for many years. Dr. Silveira was well known for the huge, meticulously decorated cakes she made for special Longwood occasions.