Missouri S&T professor honored as a knight by French government


ROLLA, MO – Dr. Audra Merfeld-Langston of Missouri S&T has been honored as a chevalier in the French Republic’s Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of the French Academic Palms).

Dr. Merfeld-Langston is the chair and professor of arts, languages, and philosophy and an associate professor of French at Missouri S&T.

The Order of the French Academic Palms was established in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte. Its purpose is to honor educators and it’s the oldest non-military French decoration. The title of Chevalier, the French term for knight, recognizes the contributions of teachers through their teaching, scholarship, and leadership throughout their careers. It is also presented to a select group of individuals who are not members of academia but have demonstrated outstanding devotion to the French world.

The Order of the French Academic Palms has three ranks: knight officer, and commander. Each decoration is bestowed by the French Prime Minister through the recommendation of the French Minister of National Education.

“I am deeply honored to have been recognized with this honor,” states Dr. Merfeld-Langston. “I am grateful to my students for their enthusiasm and curiosity; they continually inspire me. I am also grateful to the many wonderful colleagues I have worked with who generously share ideas to make learning and teaching French a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”

Dr. Merfeld-Langston has been a member of the S&T faculty since 2007. She was appointed chair of arts, languages, and philosophy in 2016. She earned a Ph. D. in French civilization from Pennsylvania State University. She also served as coordinator of the Frech Summer Intensive Language Institute at Penn State, before she joined S&T.

Dr. Jayne Abrate, executive director of the American Association of Teachers of French, says “I nominated Audra for this honor because of her excellent scholarship in French studies and her generous and active participation in professional activities,”.

Dr. Merfeld-Langston has additionally been named a University of Missouri System Presidential Engagement Fellow in 2019 and was named Woman of the Year by S&T in 2017. Currently, she serves as president of the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French.

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