History of Center Directors

Since our founding in 1930, the Center has been led by Directors whose service and legacies have shaped who we are. From the Institute of Inter-American Affairs to the School of Inter-American Studies to the Center of Latin American Studies, these are the Directors who have stewarded the discipline at the University of Florida:

1930 - 1944

Rollin S. Atwood

1931 | The Institute of Inter-American Affairs held its first annual conference.



1945 - 1952

John F. Martin

1951 | The Institute of Inter-American Affairs becomes the School of Inter-American Studies, officially offering the first MALAS degrees.


1952 - 1963

A. Curtis Wilgus

1962 | The SIAS was awarded Title VI funding and named a National Resource Center. It became the Center for Latin American Studies.

Honorary fund: A. Curtis Wilgus Graduate Fellowship


1964 - 1968

Lyle N. McAlister

1964 | The first issue of The Latinamericanist was published.




1969 - 1977

William E. Carter

1972 -1978 | The Secretariat of the Latin American Studies Association was headquartered at the Center.

Honorary fund: Wagley and Carter Endowed Fellowship Fund


1978 - 1980

Ivan A. Schulman





1980 - 1985

Helen I. Safa

The Center's first woman Director

Honorary fund: Safa Graduate Student Travel Endowment


Terry McCoy1986 - 1996

Terry McCoy

1992 | The Bacardi Family Eminent Scholar Chair was established.

Honorary fund: McCoy Travel Scholarship Fund

Charles H Wood Small1996 - 2004

Charles Wood

1999 | After nearly two decades of activities and program development, the Tropical Conservation and Development Program was officially established with an endowment fund.

2001 | The Brazilian Music Institute was founded.

Carmen Diana Deere Small2004 - 2009

Carmen Diana Deere

2004 | The Digital Library of the Caribbean was established.

2005 | The Alumni Board was founded.

Honorary fund: Carmen Diana Deere Director’s Fund

Phillip Williams Small2009 - 2019

Philip J. Williams

2010 | The Masters in Development Practice Program was established.

2011 | For its 80th anniversary, the Center received its historical marker on the Plaza of the Americas.


De la Torre Small2019 -

Carlos de la Torre

The Center's first director from Latin America, and the first alum to become Center Director

2021 | The Kislak Family Foundation Writer/Artist in Residence was established.