Biography of Dr. Sabine R. Ulibarri
Dr. Sabine R. UlibarrÌ was born September 21, 1919 in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico. His long career
as educator, writer, poet, essayist, critic, and statesman began in the RÌo Arriba County Schools in 1938,
where he taught for two years before going on to teach at the El Rito Normal School from 1940 to 1942. After
receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for having flown thirty-five combat missions over Europe during
World War II, UlibarrÌ returned to study under the G.I. Bill at the University of New Mexico, graduating
with majors in English and Spanish in 1947. The following year he received an assistantship to teach
Spanish and earned an M.A. degree. His thesis was on the works of Spanish novelist Benito PÈrez GaldÛs.
In 1949, he began teaching full time at the University of New Mexico, and later took a leave of absence
for three years in order to pursue a Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of California–Los Angeles.
UlibarrÌ returned to full-time teaching at the University of New Mexico after receiving his doctorate in 1958.
His dissertation, on the works of Spanish poet Juan RamÛn JimÈnez was published in 1962, in Madrid Spain.
UlibarrÌ’s first book, Al Cielo Se Sube a Pie (One Gets to Heaven on Foot), was published in 1961 in Mexico.
A second book of poetry, Amor y Ecuador (Love and Ecuador) was published in Spain in 1966. UlibarrÌ lived in
Ecuador in the 1960s. He was given the Distinguished Citizen Award and Honorary Citizen Award from the
city of Quito in 1963 and 1964.
Sabine UlibarrÌ founded the University of New Mexico Andean Center in Quito, Ecuador in 1968 and coordinated
the program for one year. UlibarrÌ became the President of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish
and Portuguese in 1969, and served as executive council member from 1970 to 1975. He served as chair of
the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at the University of New Mexico for ten years beginning
in 1973. UlibarrÌ retired from the University of New Mexico in 1988, and received the University of
New Mexico Regents Meritorious Service Medal in 1989. He has continued to teach courses on Spanish
literature during the 1990s.
Since 1985, Sabine UlibarrÌ has received prestigious awards for his writings, service, and contribution
to the promotion of better cultural understanding in multiethnic societies: Honoree, Albuquerque Feria
Artesana (1985); Mexican Government Award for Promotion of Hispanic Culture (1986); New Mexico Governor’s
Award MSS 561 BC UlibarrÌ Page for Excellence and Achievement in Literature (1987); University of
New Mexico Symposium Dedicated to the Works of Sabine R. UlibarrÌ (1988); and Honoree, The American
Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (1990).
Courtesy of The Online Archive of New Mexico.