College of Arts and Sciences News

Clarence Brown Theatre Honored for Production of Whipping Man

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The East Tennessee Historical Society has recognized UT’s Clarence Brown Theatre for its production of The Whipping Man, a haunting Civil War-era play that tackles difficult issues and the region’s history. The theater received the Award of Distinction this month from the historical society for its adaptation of the play.

Blackwell Wins Nabokov Prize for Book

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Stephen H. Blackwell, a professor of Russian, won the 2013 prize for the Best Scholarly Contribution in the area of Nabokov Studies with his 2009 book The Quill and the Scalpel: Nabokov’s Art and the Worlds of Science. He received the award from the Nabokov Online Journal during a special ceremony at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, France, in April. The award carries a $600 cash prize.

Check Out the Media Coverage of Spring Commencement

Graduation cap

More than 3,800 students graduated from the university last week. Many of our graduates, speakers, honorees, and programs captured widespread media attention. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Noble Wilford spoke to graduates from the College of Communication and Information, former NPR anchor Ann Taylor spoke to graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences, and financial guru Dave Ramsey spoke to graduates from the College of Business Administration. Read on for an overview of last week’s news.

Five Students Win NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

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Five graduate students have received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships. The recipients are Caroline Bryson, Mallory Ladd, Derek Mull, Alix Ann Pfennigwerth, and Su’ad Amatullah Yoon. The Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and provides financial support for outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

Former NPR Newscaster Ann Taylor Tells Grads ‘Be Smart but Take a Chance’

Ann-Taylor

Longtime NPR newscaster Ann Taylor urged graduates to “be smart, but also take a chance” in her commencement address at UT on Friday. Taylor, who graduated from UT with a degree in English in 1958, anchored NPR’s national newscasts within All Things Considered from 1989 until July of 2011. Taylor spoke at the College of Arts and Sciences commencement and offered graduates a laundry list of advice, which she called “Ann Taylor-isms.”

Graduate’s Leadership Curriculum to be Taught in Elementary Schools

Katherine Waxstein with Pond Gap student Samari Tyler.

When Katherine Waxstein graduates this week, she’ll leave behind some work for others to do. As part of a volunteer project, Waxstein developed a leadership program for elementary school students that’s been so successful it has been turned into a university course that will be taught in the fall. Waxstein has completed a double major in child and family studies and psychology.

Graduating Senior Doesn’t Allow Vision Impairment to Thwart Theater Dreams

Christian Darnell, center, in a scene from A Christmas Carol.

Batman may be a superhero crime-fighter, but inside he’s Bruce Wayne—a regular guy who has seen trial and triumph. Born with a vision impairment, Christian Darnell, who graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences on Friday with a degree in theater, identifies with that inner strength. Darnell was born with oculocutaneous albinism, a condition that affects pigmentation of the skin, hair, and eyes and classifies him as being legally blind.

Provost’s Office Working on “S” Designation for Service-Learning Courses

The Provost’s Service-Learning Office is working on a plan to give an “S” designation to approved courses with a service-learning component. The application process was piloted this spring by nine faculty members, each representing a different college. The university already has many courses that employ service-learning, and the service-learning office is developing mechanisms to enhance the support and recognition of faculty who do this work.

Graduating Senior Receives 2014 Claxton Medallion

From left: Susan Benner, associate dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; Brooke Terry, graduating senior and 2014 Claxton Medal winner; and Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Senior Brooke Elana Terry has received the 2014 Claxton Medallion. The $5,000 award is given annually to a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences who will be entering a fifth-year internship in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences to prepare for a career in teaching.