Story by Kelsey Allen | Photo by Rob Hill
Margaret Sayers “Petch” Peden walks across a stage in New York to accept the Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation from the PEN American Center, the world’s oldest international literary organization. The organization is recognizing Peden, professor emerita of Spanish at the University of Missouri, for her lifetime commitment to the field of translation, an award given out every three years.
She’ll want to thank a few people.
She wouldn’t be standing there if it weren’t for her high school Spanish teacher, Esther Hepple, who made the language seem so foreign, so fun and so not Jefferson City, Mo., which Peden says was “not very exotic” in the 1940s.
Peden, BA ’48, MA ’63, PhD ’66, might thank the only man she recognized in the Spanish department, John Brushwood, when she returned to MU 12 years after getting her bachelor’s degree. He helped her start the master’s program without filing the proper paperwork (which she eventually filed), easing the path to her doctorate.
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