University of South Florida

Department of World Languages


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USF Spanish Professor, David Arbesú, Unearths Fascinating Details About a Key Figure in St. Augustine's History

Statue of Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales

"St. Augustine - Mission of Nombre de Dios - Father Francisco Lopez Statue" | Photo by: Jared - flickr - license CC BY 2.0 (

Professor David Arbesú, of the USF Department of World Languages, has conducted groundbreaking research into a key figure in the history of Florida, Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales, who is memorialized by a statue located on the grounds of Mission of Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine, which was founded in 1565.

Dr. Arbesú has made major advances in our historical understanding of Mendoza as the first priest in the United States by discovering numerous details about his life before and after his time in Florida. Unveiling documents archived in Spain, Oklahoma, and Mexico, Dr. Arbesú was able to paint a more thorough picture of who Mendoza was as a person. Among the most interesting discoveries are documents that describe the period near the end of his life, which are included for viewing in the USF Newsroom full article

Dr. Arbesú's full paper has been published in the Florida Historical Quarterly.

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Department of World Languages students, alumni, and faculty can submit news of accomplishments and events for our News section. We welcome announcements of publications, works presented, jobs procured, awards garnered, scholarships awarded, graduate school placements, and upcoming events.