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F. Ray Wilson II Award for Best Thesis

Wilson, F. Ray

The purpose of the F. Ray Wilson Award for Best Thesis is to recognize and reward excellence in scholarship. The Honors Program strives to inspire students to continue producing excellent work, while at the same time laying a trail for future students to follow as they look back upon previous F. Ray Wilson award winners. We believe that rewarding quality work breeds excellence that will benefit the Honors Program and Baylor for many years to come.

The F. Ray Wilson Award for Best Thesis was established to honor F. Ray Wilson II for his outstanding service to Baylor University and the Honors Program.  A maximum of one winner is selected each year from each of the Social Sciences, the Physical and Life Sciences, and the Humanities (which includes music, art, theater, and other fine arts). 

Nomination Process:

To be considered a finalist for best thesis, a graduate must receive an “Outstanding” designation following his/her thesis defense. The thesis director or an Honors Program faculty member must then write a letter/e-mail nominating the thesis. Nominations from faculty are due by Friday, January 17. The nomination letter/e-mail of support should be sent to Dr. Wesley Null ( The nominator should:

  1. State the division in which the thesis should be reviewed;

  2. Explain why it should be considered;

  3. Describe its contribution to the field in which it has been nominated; and

  4. Address the extent to which it is publishable.

Review Process:

The Wilson Thesis Award Committee (WTAC), listed below, will recruit a three-member panel from each of the three divisions (Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Humanities) to review the nominated theses and make recommendations to the WTAC. A faculty member from the Honors Program will chair each panel.

After all theses for a given year (meaning those completed in May, August, and December) have been defended, each three-member panel will read and review those nominated for best thesis.

Selection & Award Process:

The three panels will make their recommendations to the WTAC by February 15th of each year. By March 15th, the WTAC will name a prize winner to be invited to return to Baylor for the annual Honors Week banquet in late April. An honorarium of $500 will be provided for remarks the winner gives to the Honors graduates. Award monies also will be provided for transportation and lodging. The director of the winning thesis also will receive a special invitation. Should the winner be unable to return for the banquet, the WTAC will select the runner-up instead (and so on).

Each winner and thesis director will have their names engraved on a nameplate affixed to the F. Ray Wilson Award for Best Thesis plaque that will hang in the Honors Program suite in Morrison Hall. In case of a non-returning winner and a returning runner-up, both names will be inscribed on separate plaque nameplates.

Wilson Thesis Award Committee:

• Thomas Hibbs, Dean, Honors College
• Andrew Wisely, Director, Honors Program
• Wesley Null, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
• Victor Hinojosa, Assistant Professor, Honors Program
• Lisa Baker, Clinical Professor, Honors Program
• David Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor, Honors Program
• Al Beck, Admissions and Advising Coordinator, Honors Program