Memoriam: Dr. Marie M.B. Racine – Distinguished Professor Emerita

Memoriam: Dr. Marie M.B. Racine – Distinguished Professor Emerita

Dr. Marie M.B. Racine Memoriam image

Dr. Marie M.B. Racine

Distinguished Professor Emerita


Dr. Racine will forever be part of the University of the District of Columbia’s proud legacy. She took joy in the process of academic inquiry and sharing her knowledge with others. We are grateful for the honor she brought to this institution through her contributions and achievements in fulfilling her life’s work.” – Ronald Mason, Jr., J.D., President


Dr. Marie M.B. Racine received a Ph.D. in French and Theoretical Linguistics from Georgetown University in 1970.  She taught at Howard University, and became a professor of foreign languages and linguistics at Federal City College in 1969, serving from 1969 – 1971 as Assistant Chair, and then from 1971- 1978 as Chair of the Foreign Languages Department. After UDC was formed, she served as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts from 1978 to 1987, and as Acting Dean from 1987 to 1988.    She was a Faculty Research Fellow for the Center for Applied Research and Urban Policy at UDC from 1986 to 1993, Project Director for “Health-Related Literacy in Black and Hispanic Senior Citizens” for the US Department of Agriculture/DC Agricultural Experiment Station from 1987 to 1997, Commissioner and Secretary for the DC Education Licensure Commission from 1989 to 1993, and  a Fulbright-Hays fellow in 2002.  From 2003 – 2005 she was the chair of the Self-Study for UDC, leading to a successful 10-year reaccreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. She then served as the UDC Assessment Coordinator from 2003-2009. She has numerous publications in Linguistics, Language and Literature, Culture, and Women’s Studies.  Even after retirement, and being awarded emeritus status in 2013, Dr. Racine remained active in the University community, attending meetings, ceremonies, and events.   In short, she was the consummate academic.

“I came to know Marie when we became cochairs of the 2005 Self-Study.  Those years in the Self-Study office on the third floor of Building 39 were the most dynamic of my academic career, all due to Marie’s tremendous energy and dedication.  First, she insisted on an office near the president, provost, legal counsel, and anybody who was anybody at UDC.  She would pull in UDC dignitaries for meetings at 5 pm on Fridays, work through holiday breaks, and not leave until everything was perfect.  Even now I hear her lilting voice, asking if I included her middle initials, M.B., so as not confuse her with someone else.  That would be impossible. There was only one Marie.” – Dr. Helene Krauthamer, Professor of English

“Dr. Marie Racine was a dear friend for over 45 years.  She was wise, humble, and resilient, and she was a master teacher.  Her love for her native country, Haiti, and the people of the African Diaspora was evident in everything that she dedicated her life’s work to. Her impact upon the UDC Family will be felt for years to come. Our hearts are broken. She will be sorely missed.” – Dr. Elsie Williams, Professor of English

“Marie and I collaborated and co-taught a Haiti CEU Course after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Students highly praised the course by its content, organization, and timeliness. All that was happening thanks to Marie’s commitment and professionalism. I was blessed to know her as a remarkable colleague and friend. All the memories we shared, coffee times, and yoga trips, will forever be cherished and remembered with love. Rest in peace!” – Dr. Silva Meybatyan, Professor of Geography

Dr. Marie M. B. Racine was the College of Arts and Sciences’ fiercest advocate, most committed friend, and indefatigable champion. Her love of family, country, and UDC resonated through all that she did. She offered mentorship and guidance at all levels of the College. She modeled excellence in her every action, having served in faculty (Professor of French Language and Literatures, with fluency in all of the modern languages) and administrative positions (department chair, associate dean,) and on numerous University committees and initiatives.

A true scholar-teacher, Dr. Racine brought the world to her classrooms, gave her students international learning experiences using the resources of local immigrant communities and global experts and travel, and informed the University’s understanding of and appreciation for iterative, context-based second language teaching that made bilingual and multilingual language competence available to our adult students, many of whom were without prior exposure to other languages. She was a true exemplar of the melding of the best of traditional language teaching pedagogies and evolving immersive, high-impact practices.

“Dr. Racine’s legacy is carried around the globe by the thousands of students she introduced to the modern languages; transformed into Francophiles; grew into educators, translators, and interpreters; and challenged to embrace the people and places that tied to the languages they were learning. Known to her students as Madame Racine, Dr. Racine will forever live in the hearts of all she touched”. – Dr. April Massey, Dean, College of Art and Sciences