Two Majors, Kathleen Kidder and Matthew Ramirez Named Dean’s Distinguished Graduates
Posted: March 8, 2011
Kathleen Kidder, majoring in Classics, and Matthew Ramirez, majoring in English and Latin, have been named Dean’s Distinguished Graduates. They will be honored publicly at their graduation ceremony in May.
Every year the College of Liberal Arts awards this title to 12 graduating seniors in honor of their outstanding achievements in scholarship, leadership, and service to the college. Instituted in 1980, this is the highest honor the College of Liberal Arts awards its students.
Kathleen entered UT firmly resolved to devote herself to the study of classics and to go to graduate school. Greek and Latin had long fascinated her due to their linguistic complexity, and she longed to read the Iliad and the Aeneid in the original languages. Since she taught herself Latin during her senior year of high school, she was able to progress quickly in both languages and read a good share of Greek and Latin. She became interested in how ancient texts could communicate social and cultural attitudes. Her senior honors thesis examines how Theocritus’ Idyll 29 presents a unique egalitarian pederastic relationship. Kathleen is currently employed as a student assistant at a Kumon center. This job allows her to work with individual children in reading and math. Besides giving balance to her academic rigors, this job is providing her with invaluable pedagogical tools which she hopes to employ in her intended career as a professor in classics.
When Matthew started college at UT-Pan American in the Rio Grande Valley, he decided to take some courses in the Humanities. On the first day one of his professors began his lecture by discussing Inanna, a fertility goddess whose myths stretch further back than our systems of writing. He was fascinated by the structure of myths, and from then on he began identifying recurring character types. In his research, Matthew was met with eager support from some professors, but was discouraged when others—and family members too—told him that he mustn't aspire to attend graduate school. Leaving home for an undergraduate education was something no one in his family had done. Yet he has found in Austin an environment amenable to his academic pursuits. He has recently penned an opera libretto, The Passion of Vibia Perpetua, and is now completing his honors thesis in English with a classical twist, entitled “Pharmakoi and Pharmaka: Towards a Theory of the Exposed Eiron as Literary Scapegoat.”
This marks the fourth year in a row that graduates of the Classics department have been named Dean's Distinguished Graduate. Joshua Ethan Alexander received the honor in 2010, Dhananjay Jagannathan in 2009, and Megan Campbell and Christina Skelton in 2008.