History

In 1995, William and Katherine Devers of Winnetka, Illinois, established the Devers Program in Dante Studies through a generous $1 million gift to the University of Notre Dame. William Devers is president of the Devers Group, Inc., a consortium of computer companies providing application software to the publishing, utility and other industries. He is also a member of the advisory council for Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. The Devers have four children, one of whom graduated from the Notre Dame Law School in 1990. The Devers have also endowed a library collection for the Kresge Law Library at Notre Dame.

Mimi Ravarino, and her late mother Helen, established an endowed directorship for the Italian Studies at Notre Dame Program in 2000. In 2008, Mimi established an endowment for excellence in honor of her parents Helen M. and Albert J. Ravarino, which funds key initiatives in support of Italian Studies, including extensive support for Notre Dame students and faculty to study in Italy.

Over the years, the Devers Program in Dante Studies has supported and promoted a wealth of relevant scholarship and academic initiatives. The first Devers Lecture Series and Travel & Research Grants were offered in 1996. Other program highlights include: the launch of the Distinguished Visiting Professor series (2002-2003); the Fall lecture series “Dante and Petrarch” and the publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies, vol. 8: Accounting for Dante by Justin Steinberg, winner of the MLA Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies (2004-2005), and vol. 12: Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy by Dennis Looney, winner of the 2011 Book Award, General Category, bestowed by the American Association of Italian Studies; the international seminar on “Dante and the Contemplative Tradition” (2007-2008); the international colloquium on “The Italian Duecento” (2009-2010); the 2013 Summer Seminar, Dante's Theology, which took place in Jerusalem (Summer 2013).

Highlights of the Devers Program

2014-2015 – Fourth annual Italian Studies Research Seminar; celebration of both the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth, and the 20th anniversary of the Devers Program in Dante Studies, taking the form of a lecture series of the poet’s so-called “minor works”; a research collaboration between Notre Dame and the AHRC-funded Project “Dante and Late Medieval Florence: Theology in Poetry, Practice and Society” ... [More]

2013-2014 – Third annual Italian Studies Research Seminar; first meeting “Dante’s Intellectual Formation” at Notre Dame’s new Rome Global Gateway; lectures by Simon Gilson, Anna Pegoretti, Brian Reynolds; public seminars in commemoration of the 700th year of Boccaccio’s birth; second “Dante Now! Divine Comedy Flash Mob Readings from the Divine Comedy” ... [More]

2012-2013 – Second annual Italian Studies Research Seminar; international Summer Seminar on Theological Dimensions of Dante’s Work; new undergraduate initiative “Dante Now! Divine Comedy Flash Mob Readings from the Divine Comedy”; publication of Devers Series in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature Volume 13: Interpreting Dante Essays on the Traditions of Dante Commentary, edited by P. Nasti and C. Rossignoli ... [More]

2011-2012 – Inaugural annual Italian Studies Research Seminar; establishment of an annual undergraduate course on Dante offered by Z. G. Barański; public readings of Dante's Divine Comedy by undergraduate students around Notre Dame campus; best book prize by the American Association of Italian Studies awarded to D. Looney’s Freedom Readers: The African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy ... [More]

2010-2011 – Inaugural Rome Summer Seminar (13 June –1 July, 2011); lectures by Alison Cornish, Robin Kirkpatrick, David Lummus; panel on recent research on Dante’s Vita nova, with presentations by Z. G. Barański and C. Honess; publication of Devers Series in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature Volume 12: Freedom Riders: the African American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy, written by D. Looney ... [More]

2009-2010 – Research colloquium with the University of Leeds Centre for Dante Studies; lecture and seminar by Ronald Herzman; Research colloquium on Italian Studies: "Work in Progress"; publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 11: Dante’s Commedia: Theology as Poetry, edited by V. Montemaggi and M. Treherne ... [More]

2008-2009 – An international colloquium on "The Italian Duecento"; an international trans-disciplinary symposium titled "Why Italy?"; the appointment of Laurence Hooper as Devers Program in Dante Studies post-doctoral fellow for the spring semester of 2009 and SY 2009-10; publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 10: Petrarch & Dante: Anti-Dantism, Metaphysics, Tradition (edited by Zygmunt G. Baranski and Theodore Cachey) ... [More]

2007-2008 – An international seminar on "Dante and the Contemplative Tradition"; lectures by Gary Ferguson (University of Delaware) and Vittorio Montemaggi (Cambridge), and a seminar by Claudio Giunta (University of Trento); offered for the first time a Summer Scholar Dante course for high schools students, sponsored by Notre Dame's Summer Scholar Programs; publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 9: The Ancient Flame: Dante as a Classical Poet (by Winthrop Wetherbee) ... [More]

2006-2007 – University of Rome-Notre Dame Humanities conference; "Work in Progress" conference; Fall appointment of Zygmunt Baranski as Distinguished Visiting Professor for 2006-07 and 2007-08 academic years; publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 8: Accounting for Dante: Urban Readers and Writers in Late Medieval Italy by Justin Steinberg ... [More]

2005-2006 – Fall appointment of Piero Boitani as Distinguished Visiting Professor; Spring meeting dedicated to the discussion of “The Place of Italian Studies in the Modern University”; publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 7: Manuele Gragnolati's Experiencing the Afterlife Soul and Body in Dante and Medieval Culture ... [More]

2004-2005 – Fall lecture series "Dante and Petrarch"; Fall appointment of Zygmunt G. Baranski as Distinguished Visiting Professor; publication of both Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 6: Understanding Dante by John Scott, and Le culture di Dante. Studi in onore di Robert Hollander, the volume of proceedings from the International Dante Seminar ... [More]

2003-2004 – Hosted the fourth International Dante Seminar; Fall appointment of Franco Ferrucci as Distinguished Visiting Professor ... [More]

2002-2003 – Launch of the Distinguished Visiting Professor series with the appointment of Piero Boitani; lectures by Remo Ceserani and William J. Kennedy; co-sponsored Spring lecture and panel discussion with Roland Greene on “English and the Foreign Languages”; publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 5: Dante and the Grammar of the Nursing Body by Gary P. Cestaro ... [More]

2001-2002 – Fall lecture series "The Languages of Italy"; launch of post-doctoral fellowship in Dante and Italian Studies; co-sponsor of Medieval Manuscripts Conference ... [More]

2000-2001 – Fall lecture series "Dante Across the Curriculum" (lectures by Piero Boitani, Gary Cestaro, and Manuele Gragnolati); Spring lecture "Dante – Time & Eternity" (by John Scott); support of research into the history and significance of the Zahm Dante Collection at the University of Notre Dame ... [More]

1999-2000 – Mini-seminars dedicated to Dante's minor works, Fall lecture series entitled "Dante and Modern Italian Poetry"; publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 4: The Fiore (and the Detto d'amore) by Christopher Kleinhenz and Santa Casciani; Teachers As Scholars (TAS) program; Ambrosiana Drawings Project ... [More]

1998-1999 – Mini-seminars dedicated to Dante's minor works, Fall lecture series entitled "Diversely Dante"; publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 3: The Design in the Wax by Marc Cogan; launch of the Franco-Italian On-Line Archive (FIOLA), a database of texts written in mixed French and Italian language ... [More]

1997-1998 – Mini-seminars dedicated to Dante's minor works; Fall lecture series; publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 2: The Fiore in Context: Dante, France, Tuscany, ed. Z. Baranski and P. Boyde; launched ItalNet, making available the Opera del Vocabolario (OVI) database of Italian vernacular texts from before 1375 ... [More]

1995-1996 – Inaugural celebration in March; first lecture series; invitation to participate in Progetto Italica; publication of Devers Series in Dante Studies Volume 1: Dante Now: Current Trends in Dante Studies edited by Theodore J. Cachey, Jr. ... [More]