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Dean's Alumni Newsletter: September 2008

Photo Dean Diehl College Seal

Dear Friends,

As we embark on the start of the 2008-09 academic year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for remaining connected to the College of Liberal Arts. Each year, faculty members welcome students into their classrooms and research laboratories, providing the leaders of tomorrow with a world-class educational experience today.

This is an exciting time for the College of Liberal Arts. President Powers continues to identify Liberal Arts as a top university priority. And, during the next year, we will begin working with alumni and friends of the college to prepare for the university's capital campaign that will provide an opportunity to promote and support the college's departments, centers and students!

As a liberal arts graduate, you are part of a network of 100,000 alumni whose professional careers help shape communities, locally and internationally.

Please keep in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.

Randy L. Diehl, Dean

Feature Stories

A Red and Blue Nation?

Political scientist debunks three common myths about American voters

Turn on any cable news channel during an election year and you will find popular misconceptions about American voters repeatedly claimed by political pundits. Daron Shaw, professor of government, breaks down three of the biggest myths about contemporary American voters and reveals the real story behind election day behavior.

Read the story...

Unnatural Disaster

Researchers examine families' situations before, during and after Hurricane Katrina

During the 2005 Labor Day weekend, thousands of Gulf Coast residents were uprooted in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. After the evacuation, a team of researchers, including faculty from the Department of Sociology, came together to track survivors through their first year in the host community of Austin.

Read the story...

Free Minds

Continuing education program engages nontraditional students in the arts and humanities

Adults break through financial and social barriers to pursue intellectual life in the Free Minds Project, a program of the Humanities Institute. Adults living at or near the poverty level enroll in a two-semester course to study literature, history, philosophy, theater and writing.

Read the story...

In the News

Liberal Arts Athletes Headed to the Olympics

Four College of Liberal Arts students and alumni stamped their passports to Beijing, China to compete in the 2008 Olympic Games:

Men's Track

Leo Manzano (Spanish senior)

Men's Swimming

Aaron Pierson (B.A. Government,'07)
Ian Crocker (Sociology senior)


Cat Osterman (B.A. Psychology,'07)

More about the Olympic athletes...

Researcher Leads Underwater Archeological Expedition in Gulf of Mexico

C. Andrew Hemmings, research associate of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, led an underwater archeological expedition in the Gulf of Mexico to search for submerged evidence of the first Americans.

More about the excavation...

Michael Stoff Leads Plan II

The College of Liberal Arts has named Michael B. Stoff, associate professor of history, director of the Plan II Honors Program. The distinguished teaching professor, who has served as interim director since 2006, studies modern American history, World War II and the presidency. He is co-editor of the Oxford University Press series, "New Narratives in American History."

More about the new Plan II director...

University Establishes New School of Undergraduate Studies

The university has established a new School of Undergraduate Studies as a college-level academic unit reporting to the executive vice president and provost. The School of Undergraduate Studies will be led by Paul B. Woodruff, philosophy professor and longtime Plan II director, who became inaugural dean of undergraduate studies in fall 2006.

More about the School of Undergraduate Studies...

Center for African and African American Studies Named in Honor of John L. Warfield

The Center for African and African American Studies has been given a new name—the Dr. John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies—honoring the late professor's legacy as an advocate for ethnic diversity and service as founder and long-time director of the center.

More about the center...

Honors and Awards

Texas Exes Awards Highest Honor to Liberal Arts Alumni

The Texas Exes announced the recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the association's highest honor for alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the university. The six honorees for 2008 include two alumni of the College of Liberal Arts: Salam Fayyad (Ph.D. Economics, '86) and Linnet Frazier Deily (B.A. Government, '67).

More about the honorees...

Intellectual Entrepreneurship Receives National Award for Serving Latinos

The Intellectual Entrepreneurship Pre-Graduate School Internship Program, part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, earned a 2008 Example of Excellence at the Graduate Level award from the national education nonprofit organization, ¡Excelencia! In Education.

More about the IE program...

Latino USA Receives Grant to Expand Coverage of Immigrant Families

The Marguerite Casey Foundation has awarded a $250,000 grant to Latino USA, the premier English-language public radio news magazine covering Latino news and culture, to expand its coverage of the experiences of immigrant families in America.

More about the nationally-recognized radio program...

College Awards Keene Prize for Literature to Michener Center Graduate

George Brant, a recent graduate of the James A. Michener Center for Writers at The University of Texas at Austin, has won the 2008 Keene Prize for Literature, one of the world's largest student literary prizes. Brant will receive $50,000. An additional $50,000 will be divided among three finalists.

More about Brant’s award-winning play and the Keene Prize finalists...

Professor Inducted into Journalists' Hall of Fame

Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, associate professor in the School of Journalism and affiliate of the Center for Mexican-American Studies, was inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalists' Hall of Fame for improving coverage of Latinos in the media.

More about Rivas-Rodriguez’s achievements...

Texas Exes Recognizes Liberal Arts Alumni

Two College of Liberal Arts alumni earned the 2008 Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award for significant achievements in their careers and service to the university. The recipients are: Christina Joy Allen (B.A. English and Spanish, '98, J.D. '01) and Michael Appleman (B.A. Plan II Honors Program,'90, J.D. '93).

More about the honorees...

Gosling Earns Early Career Award from American Psychological Association

The American Psychological Association has honored Samuel Gosling, who has pioneered the international study of animal personality, with its 2008 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award.

More about Gosling’s animal personality research...

College Awards Six Dedman Distinguished Scholarships

The College of Liberal Arts has honored six students with a Dedman Distinguished Scholarship, which provides $13,000 per academic year for four years, as well as supplemental funding for study abroad programs.

The Dedman Scholars for the Class of 2012 are:

  • John Russell Beaumont—Albuquerque High School, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Christopher M. Burge—Jesuit College Preparatory School, Dallas
  • Anjali Datta—Grapevine High School, Grapevine
  • Grace Anne Jamail—Westlake High School, Austin
  • Lindsey Smith—High School for Performing and Visual Arts, Houston
  • Hannah R. Weissgarber—Smithson Valley High School, Spring Branch

More about the scholars...

In Memoriam

Latin American Scholar John W.F. Dulles Dies

John W. F. Dulles, professor of American and Latin American studies, died June 23 at the age of 95. The son of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles taught at the university for 45 years.


Air Force Major Dies in Training Crash near Guam

U.S. Air Force Maj. Christopher Cooper (B.A. Psychology, '97) died June 21 in an Air Force training crash. Cooper, 33, was serving as the commander of a six-man Raider 21 aircrew aboard a B-52 bomber when it crashed into the Pacific Ocean 30 miles northwest of Guam.


Digital Media Spotlight

Art Markman, Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing, explores issues ranging from the psychology of politics to teen drug use in "Ulterior Motives," a blog for Psychology Today.

Visit "Ulterior Motives"...

Daniel Hamermesh, professor of economics, is a guest blogger for "Freakonomics," an opinion column in the New York Times that addresses economic issues. From attractiveness as a commodity to the political economy, Hamermesh covers a broad spectrum of economic issues.

Visit "Freakonomics"...

Event Spotlight

College Hosts "School of Thought" for Alumni and Friends

Alumni and friends are invited to the second annual "School of Thought" Oct. 3-4. This year's theme is "The Presidency and American Democracy" and includes guest speakers from across the college, including the Departments of History and Government and a special workshop with Actors from the London Stage.

Learn more about School of Thought...

Supporting Liberal Arts

The generous support of alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university allows the College of Liberal Arts to recruit and retain outstanding faculty members and provide the best programs for our students.

If you are interested in supporting the college, we invite you to consider making a gift. The college relies on private philanthropy to broaden support for scholarships, study abroad opportunities, faculty and graduate students. Gifts to the college ensure students are able to experience the same life-changing education you enjoyed.

Learn more about how to support the College of Liberal Arts

Dean's Circle

Become a partner in transforming lives by joining the Dean's Circle. The Dean's Circle giving society acknowledges alumni and friends who have committed to making an immediate impact through unrestricted funds. All members will be recognized on the college's Web site, receive periodic reports from the Dean, as well as the college's magazine Life & Letters. Members will also be invited to attend a number of events, including a special annual Liberal Arts reception.

If you would like to learn more about giving opportunities, including special contribution levels for young alumni joining the Dean's Circle, please send an email to


Jessica Sinn, public affairs specialist, College of Liberal Arts, 512-471-2404 or