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Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Three Department of English students named Dean's Distinguished Graduates

Posted: May 12, 2011
From left: Lindsey Carmichael, Monica Gully, and Matthew Ramirez.

From left: Lindsey Carmichael, Monica Gully, and Matthew Ramirez.

Every year the College of Liberal Arts names twelve Dean’s Distinguished Graduates on the basis of high achievements in scholarship, leadership, and service to the college. To date, 369 Dean’s Distinguished Graduates have been so honored. In keeping with previous Dean’s Distinguished Graduates, the college anticipates that the current group will excel both inside and outside of the classroom. They will often be honors students or those who have undertaken extensive undergraduate research projects. Others will be active in leadership positions either in the college, university, or community. Whatever their specific achievements, these are students who best represent the academic and service ideals of the college.

This year, the College of Liberal Arts named three Department of English students Dean’s Distinguished Graduates: Lindsey Carmichael, Monica Gully, and Matthew Ramirez. The Department of English congratulates them on their many achievements.

Lindsey A. Carmichael, a native Texan, is a double major in history and English. Her essays, poetry, and short fiction have already won first place in Department of English writing contests. After graduation, Carmichael has her “sights on publication in historical research and creative fiction novels.” Indeed, one of her history professors, Dr. L.J. Andrew Villalon, has been so impressed with her writing and research capabilities from having her as a student in three of the four classes he teaches, that he recently asked Carmichael to submit a chapter for a new book he will be co-editing on women of power in the Middle Ages. Villalon’s new book will include submissions from “a number of well-respected scholars from national universities,” he said.

In 2009, she won the Mike Wacker Award from the Texas Parents’ Association “for courage and perseverance in the face of extreme adversity.” That adversity was a diagnosis at age four with McCune Albright Syndrome — a rare bone condition that causes bones to weaken and then fracture. Despite enduring numerous surgeries and broken bones, Carmichael has certainly lived by her motto — a quote from John Wooden: “Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” A member of the UT archery team, for which she has served as chief senior recruitment officer, vice president, and coach, Carmichael has competed at the Beijing Paralympics. In 2008 she earned a Bronze Medal for the United States, the first in 34 years that any female athlete—“able-bodied or otherwise,” as she puts it—has earned in this sport. She also belongs to the university’s Toastmasters group and to the Friar Society, UT’s oldest honor society, for which she currently serves in multiple officer capacities. Carmichael works as an administrative assistant in the office at Trinity United Methodist Church in Austin and is a virtual franchisee for National Safety Associates Juice Plus+ dietary supplements.

Monica Gully has spent four years at UT pursuing majors in English and Plan II and becoming an active member of the UT community. Her senior English Honors thesis, directed by Dr. James Loehlin and entitled “‘Puzel or Pussel’: Shakespeare’s Women and the Interplay of Comedy and Tragedy in 1 Henry VI,” investigates the role of Shakespeare’s French female characters in constructing the play’s comedy and draws conclusions on the influence of comedy and tragedy in Shakespeare’s chronicle history plays, particularly the impact on the audience and the performers. Gully pursued her love for Shakespeare through several avenues, including assisting with research on an edition of Cymbeline, attending performances in London and Stratford with the department’s Oxford Summer Program, acting in two short productions of Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest with Spirit of Shakespeare (SOS), and acting in over thirty combined full-length performances of The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Part 1 of Henry VI, and Merry Wives of Windsor with Shakespeare at Winedale.

In addition to her Shakespeare studies, Gully has pursued a passion for student affairs through leadership in several different liberal arts student organizations, English Council and Liberal Arts Council among others, and in mentoring of other students. She worked as a TIP (Texas Interdisciplinary Plan) Mentor, advising and guiding four freshmen students through their first year of college. In fall 2009 she founded the English Council in order to encourage a sense of community among English students, and to serve as a student voice to the department. Additionally, she served as the Student Affairs Chair for Liberal Arts Council, planning and organizing large programs that promote student life in the College of Liberal arts, including “Getting Into Law School for Dummies,” regular Focus Meetings with the deans of the college, Project ReFRESH, and promotional events and fairs with other liberal arts student organizations. After recognizing her dedication to student affairs, Gully has decided to pursue a career in it, beginning with work for the College of Liberal Arts this summer, and ultimately pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration.

When Matthew Ramirez 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.”

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