Language Immersion Institute celebrates 25 years and welcomes new director

NEW PALTZ — The nationally renowned Language Immersion Institute at the State University of New York at New Paltz will hold its 25th anniversary celebration from 5 to 7 p.m. today, July 28, in the Coykendall Science Building.

At the event, founding director of the Language Immersion Institute, Dr. Henry Urbanski, will introduce the new director, Annie Gallin. Refreshments will be served.

In 1981, Dr. Urbanski, the Distinguished Service Professor of Russian and chair of the Foreign Language Department conceived the idea of teaching foreign languages to adults through fast-paced immersion weekend classes. A native of Poland, Urbanski’s family moved throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East before settling in the United States. During his travels Urbanski acquired seven languages through immersion.

“For a quarter century the LII has served the college and the public at large by providing high quality instruction to close to fifty thousand foreign language learners from all over the country,” said Urbanski. “I am convinced that under the leadership of Annie Gallin, and with the support of capable staff, the program will continue to thrive and enhance New Paltz’s excellent reputation for many years to come.”

The Language Immersion Institute (LII) was an immediate success and has offered the adult learner to acquire proficiency in one or more of 20 languages. Using the communicative approach to language acquisition, LII’s teachers create a highly effective, exciting and supportive learning environment for beginning, intermediate and advanced students. Now in its’ 25th year, the LII celebrates two landmarks: its silver anniversary and the introduction of its second director.

Gallin holds a B.A. in Romance Languages from New York University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Connecticut. After graduation from NYU, she lived in Ecuador for two years, where she taught English classes to community members, business employees and college students. From 1998-2003, she developed the Outreach Program at the Council on Latin American and Iberian Studies at Yale University, where she designed professional development programs for educators, including two-week summer institutes and field study trips abroad.

Gallin is the co-editor of the book, “Caribbean Connections: The Dominican Republic,” (2005) a bilingual curricular resource for educators that explores the history and culture of the Dominican Republic. Most recently, Gallin taught middle school Spanish and French at Poughkeepsie Day School.
For more information about the LII, visit, call (845) 257-3500 or e-mail