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College of Arts and Sciences Building

Honors Convocation

2022 Keith and Thyra Thomson Honors Convocation

The University of Wyoming College of Arts & Sciences will host the Keith and Thyra Thomson Honors Convocation from 4:00 - 6:00 PM October 21, 2022 in the A&S Auditorium. The Honors Convocation is a yearly event established by the Thomson family to celebrate academic achievement for undergraduate students of the College of Arts & Sciences. Stay tuned to this page for updates regarding registering for the event, details on our speakers and performances at the event, and any other information you may need regarding the Keith and Thyra Thomson Honors Convocation.

Keith & Thyra Thomson Honors Convocation Fall 2022 Event Video

Register for the Event

To RSVP for the Keith and Thyra Thomson Honors Convocation, please use the following link:

Please register as soon as you can, and we look foward to having you!


If you are unable to attend, but are still interested in seeing the event, we will also be offering a WYO CAST.

You can watch the 2022 Keith and Thyra Thomson Honors Convocation here:

Program of Events


UW Theatre & Dance Performance

"Sixth Breath"

Composed by Ezio Bosso

Choreographed by Lawrence Jackson

Greetings from the Thomson Family

Bruce Thomson

Welcome and Introductions

J. Scott Turpen College of Arts & Sciences, Interim Dean

Keynote Address

Edward Seidel, President of the University of Wyoming

Student Speaker Presentations

Irelynn Holland, Sociology, Communications 

Blake Watson, Theatre

Presentation of Student Honorees

Susan Aronstein, Karen Bartsch Estes, Narina Nuñez

College of Arts & Sciences Associate Deans

Closing Remarks

J. Scott Turpen College of Arts & Sciences, Interim Dean

University of Wyoming “Western Thunder” Marching Band Send-off

Convocation Reception

Arts & Sciences Lobby

Keynote Speaker


Edward Seidel

President Edward Seidel

Edward Seidel is the 28th President of the University of Wyoming. He is a distinguished academic known internationally for scientific excellence, bold vision and dynamic and collegial leadership with a track record of advancing scientific research, technology development and economic progress at the university, state, and national levels. A seasoned administrator, he has developed and overseen transformative academic, research, and innovation programs at multiple universities (LSU, Skoltech, Illinois, Wyoming), research institutes (Albert Einstein Institute), and at NSF.

Seidel is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has earned international awards for his work in physics, computational science, and economic development, including the 2006 IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award (computational physics), the Association for Computing Machinery’s 2001 Gordon Bell prize (computer science), the 1998 Heinz Billing Prize of the Max Planck Society (numerical relativity and collaborative software), and the 2018 Business Leadership Award of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce (economic development).

Student Speakers

Irelynn Holland

Irelynn Holland

Irelynn Holland is a senior double-majoring in Sociology and Communications. A McNair Scholar, she is originally from Reno, Nevada, but completed her senior year of high school in Cheyenne. Her research focuses on the marketing and consumption of popular music.

Irelynn completed a research internship on the Beatles and presented her findings at the McNair Scholar’s Symposium in the summer of 2021. Building on this research, she presented “All Together Now: Creating Art Out of Discord” at the Southwest Popular Culture Conference in Albuquerque earlier this year.

Irelynn plans to continue her research by obtaining a Master’s degree in Beatles Studies at the University of Liverpool, UK.


Blake Watson

Blake Watson

Blake Watson is a senior in the Theatre and Dance department with a theatre concentration. Blake is from Bozeman, Montana where he worked for several years as a freelance theatre artist, actor, director, and scenic carpenter. He also served for three years as an assistant speech and debate coach at Belgrade High school.

After a break from higher education, Blake returned to UW in the Fall of 2021 where he found success and national recognition. His work as a dramaturg on the UW Theatre and Dance production of These Shining Lives earned accolades from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival where he participated in national workshops. He also won the Region 7 undergraduate scholarly paper competition for his paper, The Essex Rebellion: The Myths we Tell About Essex, Shakespeare, and Richard II.

Blake will graduate in May 2023. After graduation, he plans on pursuing an MFA in directing.

Honors Convocation Performers

The Honors Convocation is a time to celebrate some of our most accomplished students. The College of Arts & Sciences is fortunate enough to have a pool of talented young musicians, dancers, actors and other performing artists that can help honor these students. This year, the Honors Convocation will feature performances from the Western Thunder Marching Band, and the UW department of Theatre and Dance.

UW Western Thunder Marching Band

The University of Wyoming “Western Thunder” Marching Band is comprised of students involved in almost every academic major offered on campus. The band performs at all home games and occasionally at away games. The University of Wyoming Bands began in 1913 as a R.O.T.C. unit and remained as a part of the campus military science area until after World War II. The University Bands became part of the Department of Music with the leadership of Professors Edgar Lewis and Charles Seltenrich and served as entertainment for college athletics rather than military ceremonial needs. The Western Thunder Marching band will be performing a rendition of “Cowboy Joe.”

UW Theatre and Dance Performance

Students from the department of Theatre & Dance will be performing “Sixth breath”, choreographed by Lawrence Jackson. Mr. Jackson was an associate professor of Dance from 2008-2016 and now is a professor at George Mason University. Mr. Jackson was a guest choreographer at the 26th annual Snowy Range Summer Dance Festival in July and worked with 6 UW students in the creation of this work.
The dancers performing for the Honors convocation include: Katie Currier, Rachel Golledge, Ruby Homer-Wambeam, Claire Rhein, Jessie Standley, & Sidney Thomas. The music: “Sixth Breath, The Last Breath, was composed by Ezio Bosso.


About Keith and Thyra Thomson and the Honors Convocation

Keith and Thyra Thomson were married in 1939 and became one of Wyoming's most notable couples. Recognized for exemplary service and dedication to the University of Wyoming, Keith and Thyra Thomson "paid it forward" before the term was coined. Keith was the first UW graduate to be elected to the United States House of Representatives. In 1960, Keith was elected United States senator, but, before he could assume office, he had a heart attack and died. Thyra was the first woman to be elected Wyoming's Secretary of State. Wyoming voters elected her to that office six times. When she retired, she had served 24 years--longer than any statehouse official in Wyoming history. In 1997, Thyra, along with her family and friends, established an endowment to ensure that academically successful College of Arts and Sciences undergraduates be recognized annually for their achievements. Thyra died in June 2013.


Keith Thomson

After completing a law degree at UW, Keith, a Wyoming native, served in World War II. He received numerous medals, including the U.S. Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Italian Cross of Valor, and the Czech Medal of Merit. When he returned home from the war, Keith joined the Cheyenne law firm of Henderson and Thomson. Keith served two terms on the UW Board of Trustees and one term as president of the UW Alumni Association. In 1950 and 1952, he was elected to the Wyoming State Legislature. At age 35, in 1954, Keith was the first UW graduate to be elected to the United States House of Representatives. After three terms in the House, he was elected United States senator in 1960. Tragically, before he could assume office, Keith passed away.



Thyra Thomson

 In 1962, Thyra was the first woman to be elected Wyoming’s secretary of state. Although her name repeatedly was suggested for higher office, Thyra chose to remain secretary of state and ex-officio lieutenant governor. When she retired from office in 1987, Thyra had served 24 years—longer than any other statehouse official in Wyoming’s history. She was acting governor in the absence of both Republican and Democratic chief executives, Governors Hansen, Hathaway, and Herschler. Thyra was named a UW Distinguished Alumna in 1969 and College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumna in 1987. Thyra, who died in June 2013, served on many advisory boards throughout the state, including the College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors.

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College of Arts and Sciences

University of Wyoming

1000 E. University Ave, Dept. 3254

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-4106


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