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Dean's Alumni Newsletter: March 2005

Photo: Richard Lariviere

Dear Friends,

It's March and the spring weather is settling in to Austin. Students are making their spring break plans and the campus is buzzing with events. The biggest event is the campus-wide Explore UT celebration coming up March 5. Dozens of faculty, staff and students from the College of Liberal Arts will be taking part in the "Biggest Open House in Texas." In fact, the College is sponsoring 160 separate sessions during the day that run the gamut from Italian opera to Henna hand painting to witchcraft. We hope you can join us for this great, annual event!

Elsewhere in the city, the state legislature continues to debate the fate of the Top 10 Percent law, with proposals on the table to modify the legislation or abolish it completely. We'll keep you updated on this initiative throughout the spring.


The College of Liberal Arts is preparing to survey undergraduate alumni about the writing experience they gained during their academic program. Responses will be used to enhance current curriculum and ensure that students are properly equipped for challenges they will encounter as they continue their education or enter the workforce. The survey is scheduled for this summer and we hope that you'll take the time to provide your feedback. Your input is extremely important to helping us develop the best possible curriculum for future generations of students.


The Pro Bene Meritis Award committee has just selected the 2005 recipients. Honorees are Shannon Ratliff ('61, '64), partner, Ratliff Law Firm, Prudence Mackintosh ('66), and psychology professor Robert Helmreich. The Pro Bene Meritis Awards honor individuals who are committed to the liberal arts, who have made outstanding contributions in professional or philanthropic pursuits, or who have provided exemplary service to the College of Liberal Arts. Look for more information on these award winners in the next issue of Life & Letters.


Four liberal arts students have been selected as finalists for a Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Student finalists are Lauren Gilstrap, Austin McNamee, Rebekah Perry, and Kan Yan. Each year approximately 600-700 students apply for this prestigious award that recognizes individuals who have been identified as having the passion and leadership potential necessary to serve the public good and be future "change agents." Each school is limited to submitting four nominees for this scholarship and only two other schools in the nation - Harvard University and Willamette University - had all four of their students selected as finalists. Truman scholars receive a $30,000 award to support their continuing education and leadership training.


The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies is sponsoring "Music and Culture in the Imperial Court of Jo�o VI in Rio de Janeiro," a symposium and concert, March 7 and 8. The concert March 8 will feature the first full performance in nearly 200 years of Brazilian musician Father Jose Maur�cio Nunes Garcia's "Missa de Nossa Senhora da Conceicao, Mass for Our Lady of the Conception." Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the LLILAS website.

The Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, an organization of scholars engaged in interdisciplinary, humanistic-oriented legal scholarship, will hold its eighth annual conference hosted by The University of Texas at Austin March 11-12. The two-day conference will include more than 60 panel discussions on the relationship of humanity, culture and legal issues. For more information on presentations and registration costs, visit the LCH website.

The South Asia Institute, as part of its spring colloquium series that focuses on the experience of modernity in South Asia, will present Professor Lamia Karim, from the University of Oregon, on March 10. Karim will speak on the "Struggles Within Islam: The Emerging Discourse of Human Rights for Women and Minorities in Bangladesh." A full schedule of weekly presentations can be found at the South Asia website.


Dr. Sam Gosling's (Psychology) presentation on dog's personality traits at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science resulted in worldwide media coverage. Stories appeared in more than a dozen outlets including The Australian, The Hindustan Times, The Times (London, England), The Economist, and on BBC News.

Dr. Bruce Buchanan (Government) was quoted in an Associated Press article that appeared in the San Diego Union Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor and other publications on President Bush's plan to overhaul the social security system.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette highlighted Instructor Sue Mendelsohn's (Rhetoric and Composition) class on "Rhetoric of an American Rebel" in a February 1 feature article.

Professor H.W. Brands (History) gave an interview on Austin's KUT Radio about legal document's role in Texas history.

Dr. Richard Pells (History) was quoted in All Africa about the impact of period films as part of a review of the African-American History Month film festival.