Karol Wojtyla Medallion for Excellence in Humanities
Before he became bishop of Kracow and eventually Pope Saint John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla was a poet, playwright, and professor of philosophy in Poland. His thought and writings articulate a deeply authentic humanism that is at the foundation of the Department of Humanities. His life bore witness to the vitality and expansive vision that is the fruit of such a humanism. In his encyclical Fides et Ratio, St. John Paul spoke of the love of wisdom that is “born and nurtured when the human being first asked questions about the reason for things and their purpose” and that “shows in different modes and forms that the desire for truth is part of human nature itself.” Our medallion winners are students who have not just excelled in their studies but whose love of wisdom has been stirred into a flame during their undergraduate studies. Below you’ll find the full list of our medallion winners since 2005.
2020: Timothy Long
2019: Emily LaPorte
2018: Ethan Swain
2017: Gabriella Berman
2016: Hindley Williams
2015: Sara Thoms
2014: Michael Vazquez
2013: Ryan M. Brown
2012: Paul M. Dupont
2011: Paul R. Trahey
2010: Charles A. Gillespie
2009: Madeline A. Chera
2009: Anne Marie Bonner
2008: Loretta A. Vasile
2007: Paul John Gorre
2006: Michael Ostroff
2005: Gregory Grimes
Senior Essay Prize
The Department of Humanities Senior Essay Prize is awarded to a major in the Department of Humanities for an essay that demonstrates excellence, rigor, and wisdom in its sustained engagement with a question deserving renewed attention at the end of the degree. Seeking depth over breadth, students build on texts and issues from the gateway and elective classes to craft a long essay on a question that they identify in conversation with the symposium professor and an additional faculty advisor. Each essay is distinct in its demonstration of students’ particular intellectual loves and integrating interdisciplinarity. Below are our past winners and posters of recent Humanities Senior Essays.
Caroline Arnold, 2020 "Insignes pietate viri: Virgil, Augustine, and Dante on the Virtue of Piety"
Keenan D. Lynch, 2010, "A Better Search for the "Better Place": Consideration of Hannah Coulter with regard to the State of Happiness Today"
Madeline A. Chera, 2009, "Counterculture and Communion: Beyond Industrial Systems for a Fuller Understanding of Food"
“Insignes Pietate Viri: Virgil, Augustine, and Dante on the Virtue of Piety”
What is piety? How does Christian revelation change our understanding of true piety, and why?
“Love and Dating on the College Campus”
To what extent has dating on the college campus become dysfunctional and how might it be transformed for a better future?
“Exploring Restlessness through Dancing After Hours”
How do we seek to still our restless hearts if not through spirituality?
“Finding Fullness in the True Self: When the Seeds of Christ Strip the False Self Away”
What are the limitations of only living in the false self?
“On Humility and Beauty: Servitude in Excellence”
Where is the proper place of human being in this reality?
Marikate Des Rosiers
“On Despair and Relationality”
How do we navigate the ceaseless flow of our temporal life?
“Tilling Soil in the Human Heart and Mind: Recovering the Ultimate Questions that Dispose Us Toward Seeking to Know and Love God”
If “the desire for God is written in the human heart,” what causes us to forget, overlook or reject this reality?
“Controlling Consumerism: Labor as a Mean to a Useless End”
How has modernity shaped our conception of work? How should we think about work in order to create a better society?
“A Search for a Happiness”
What is our final end?
“Even the Mercy of the Lord Burns: Violence, Distortion, and Grace in Flannery O’Connor, Jacques Maritain, and Karl Barth”
What is the strange relationship between violence and grace in Flannery O'Connor's fiction?
“Know Thyself: It’s Complicated”
Can we fully know ourselves?
“And Other Stars”
What is it like to be on the cusp of independent life?
“The Call to Holiness: Lessons from Irish Saints”
What do early Irish saints have to teach us about the call to holiness?
“The Philosophical Roots of our Ecological Crisis”
How has the impoverished view of reality present in modern philosophical thought led to what Pope Francis describes as the “Technocratic Paradigm?”
“The Quest for Joy Through Aspirations and Vocations”
What are the true values of work and vocation as they relate to human happiness?
“Unplugged: An Examination of Digital and Physical"
Escapism: What are the different ways we escape from reality? Is one better or worse for our flourishing?
“Love is All: The Different Dimensions and Intricacies of Humanity’s”
Most Intense Emotion What kinds of love create a life well lived?