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French Institute Directors & Founders

Dr. Claire Quintal

Professor of French and French Civilization at Assumption College for over thirty years and Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Claire Quintal is founding director emerita of the Institut Français,where she wrote, edited and/or translated some fifteen publications, including La femme franco-americaine/The Franco-American Woman, Steeples and Smokestacks: A Collection of Essays on the Franco-American Experience in New England, and two biographies of prominent 19th- century Assumptionists.  A chevalier of France’s Legion of Honor, she is also an officier in its National Order of Merit.  She was among the first group of Americans to be awarded the congressionally sponsored Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1986. More recently she assiduously worked on the creation of the Monument de l’Amitié/Friendship Monument in Quebec, erected on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city and which celebrates the strong cultural and economic ties between Québec and New England. Dr. Quintal has received honorary doctorates from Assumption College, Anna Maria College and St. Michael’s College.


Rev. Wilfrid J. Dufault, A.A.Rev. Wilfrid A. Dufault, A.A., Chancellor Emeritus of Assumption College

Father Wilfrid was born and grew up in Spencer, Massachusetts and graduated from Assumption Prep and Assumption College. He entered the Assumptionist order in 1929, pronounced his perpetual vows in 1933, and was ordained a priest in 1934. He received a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical Institute “Angelicum” in Rome, and honorary doctorates from Rivier College, Anna Maria College and Assumption College. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor, named Officier then Commandeur in France’s National Order of Merit, and recognized with the Lafayette Award from Worcester’s Harmony Club, the Assumption Prep School Alumni Hall of Fame Award, the President’s Medal from Assumption College, and the Outstanding Achievement Award from Assumption College. With Claire Quintal, Fr. Wilfrid founded the French Institute at Assumption College in 1979.

At the time of his death in 2004, Father Wilfrid was Chancellor Emeritus of Assumption College. Previously, he had served the college as both president and acting president and professor. For seventeen years, he was the Superior General of the Assumptionist congregation, the first Franco-American to hold that post. During that time, he was a father of the Second Vatican Council in Rome. In later years, Father Wilfrid served as Postulator for the Beatification of Rev. Emmanuel d’Alzon, the founder of the Assumptionists. He also served for many years as a member of Assumption’s Board of Trustees. His devotion and service to both the French Institute and Assumption College are without parallel. A college residence hall, Dufault Hall, bears his name.

 Leslie P. Choquette

Choquette PhotoLeslie P. Choquette, Professor of History
Professor of History (1989)
L’Institut français Professor of Francophone Cultures
Director of the French Institute (1999)

B.A., Radcliffe College; History, 1978
M.A., Harvard University; History, 1981
Ph.D., Harvard University; History, 1988
Ph.D. Thesis Title: “French Emigration to Canada in the 17th and 18th Centuries”

Sample of Courses Taught

Undergraduate: History of Western Civilization I and II, Women in Europe, France Since 1789, History of Canada, The North American Indian

Sample of Publications

  • Choquette, Leslie. Frenchmen into Peasants: Modernity and Tradition in the Peopling of French Canada. Harvard University Press, 1997. Winner of the Alfred Heggoy Book Prize, French Colonial Historical Society, 1998. Translated as De Paysans à Français: modernité et tradition dans le peuplement du Canada français. Les Éditions du Septentrion and Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 2001.
  • Choquette, Leslie. “Ces Amazones du Grand Dieu: Women and Mission in Seventeenth-Century Canada.” French Historical Studies. Spring 1992.
  • Choquette, Leslie. “Degenerate or Degendered? Images of Prostitution and Homosexuality in the French Third Republic.” Historical Reflections/Réflexions historiques. Spring 1997. First runner-up for the Audre Lorde Prize, Committee on Lesbian and Gay History, 1998.
  • Choquette, Leslie. “Center and Periphery in French North America.” Eds. Christine Daniels, Jack Greene, and Amy Turner Bushnell. Negotiated Empires: Centers and Peripheries in the New World, 1500-1820. Routledge, 2002.
  • Choquette, Leslie. “A Colony of Native French Catholics? Protestants in New France in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” Eds. Bertrand Van Ruymbeke and Randy Sparks. Memory and Identity: Minority Survival among the Huguenots in France and the Atlantic Diaspora. University of South Carolina Press, 2003.
French Institute Directors & Founders | Assumption College


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