Three Baylor University Graduates Win Highly Competitive Lilly Fellowships

July 22, 2011

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Baylor University alumnus Adam Urrutia, who graduated summa cum laude in 2007, has been selected one of 16 Lilly Graduate Fellows, the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts has announced.

The highly competitive Lilly Fellows Program supports outstanding students who want to explore the connections among Christianity, higher education, and the vocation of the teacher-scholar.

Urrutia is the latest Baylor graduate to be chosen as a Lilly Fellow. Others chosen recently are Gideon Jeffrey, a 2010 summa cum laude graduate, and Amanda Weppler, a 2007 magna cum laude graduate.

Urrutia, who majored in religion and philosophy at Baylor, was a member of the intensive Crane Scholars Program, sponsored by the Institute for Faith and Learning for gifted students who are interested in connections between knowledge, learning and Christian faith.

Dr. Michael Beaty, chair and professor of philosophy at Baylor, praised Urrutia as a student with "an active, energetic and insightful mind with a deeply rooted faith.

"He (Urrutia) has seen that faith and reason are compatible and mutually enhancing," Beaty said. "He's a wonderful conversational partner, and he doesn't have to flaunt his intelligence or dominate the conversation. He's a terrific human being and a credit to Baylor."

Gideon Jeffrey is the son of Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities in the Honors College and Distinguished Senior Fellow and Director of Manuscript Research in Scripture and Tradition at the Institute for Studies in Religion at Baylor.

Gideon Jeffrey earned his bachelor's degree as a University Scholar and is in his second year of doctoral study at Saint Louis University, pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy. He is working with Dr. Eleonore Stump, professor of philosophy, who received Baylor's Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching in 2005. Jeffrey intends to focus on medieval philosophy, epistemology and philosophy of religion. He also is interested in the intersections between philosophy, theology, literature and the sciences.

"As a member of the national selection committee for the 2010 recipients, I know how stiff the competition was, and it is a testament to Gideon's gifted mind, winsome ways and stellar scholarly potential that he won the fellowship," said Dr. Douglas V. Henry, associate professor of philosophy in the Honors College at Baylor.

Amanda Weppler, also a University Scholar at Baylor, earned her bachelor's degree in 2007. She will study in the Medieval Institute at Notre Dame. Her greatest interest is the works of Dante and will concentrate her work in the fields of Italian and philosophy/theology. She is also interested in the influence of the Middle Ages on modern literature.

"Amanda is a superb student and an excellent writer," said Dr. Scott Moore, associate professor of philosophy and great texts and director of the Great Texts Program at Baylor.

The 16 recently selected Fellows were chosen by a nine-member selection committee who interviewed 24 finalists from a pool of 61 applicants. They will meet for three days at an inaugural conference in August in Indianapolis with their mentors, Dr. Thomas S. Hibbs, dean of the Honors College at Baylor, and Dr. Caroline Simon, interim dean for social sciences and professor of philosophy at Hope College in Holland, Mich.

Following the inaugural conference, the Fellows will embark on a long-distance colloquium, with one-on-one mentoring and participation in three more conferences. Each Fellow receives a total of $9,000 in stipends. All are pursuing doctoral studies in humanities or the arts.

The Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The three-year program selects six cohorts of graduate fellows from 96 church-related schools in a national network. of church-related schools.

Contact: Terry Goodrich, Assistant Director of Media Communications, (254) 710-3321

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