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The University of Wyoming College of Arts & Sciences will host the Keith and Thyra Thomson Honors Convocation from 3:00 - 5:00 PM September 29, 2023 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.
To RSVP for the Keith and Thyra Thomson Honors Convocation, please use the following link: https://forms.office.com/r/L6NCyrMujX
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 2023 Keith and Thyra Thomson Honors Convocation here:
Please vist https://www.uwyo.edu/tps/parking/index.html before the day of the event to explore your parking options.
Digital Program Here.
UW Theatre & Dance Performance
Music by Carapace by Freya's Ghost
Choreographed by Robert Kleinendorst
Welcome and Introductions
J. Scott Turpen College of Arts & Sciences, Dean
Greetings from the Thomson Family
Michelle Sullivan, Director of the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance
Student Speaker Presentations
Presentation of Student Honorees
Susan Aronstein, Karen Bartsch Estes, Adrienne Freng
College of Arts & Sciences Associate Deans
J. Scott Turpen College of Arts & Sciences, Dean
University of Wyoming Happy Jacks Send-off
Arts & Sciences Lobby
Michelle Sullivan is Director of the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance, a Priority Fund of the Wyoming Community Foundation. Most of Sullivan’s professional and voluntary life has focused on the development of dynamic and connected communities. She is especially passionate about creating contexts where young people can pursue their interests, develop their skills, and find communities of belonging. Much of her work integrates cognitive science research to design effective approaches to human development and to strengthen the bridges between educational research and practice. She is also an advocate for the development of leaders on all levels in organizations and facilitates numerous leadership programs.
Michelle has served as a member and former chair of the Wyoming State Board of Education, a Commissioner for State Parks and Cultural Resources and was appointed to the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees in 2015. She serves as a Trustee on several philanthropic foundations including the Homer & Mildred Scott Foundation.
Based in Sheridan, Sullivan holds a master’s degree in Mind, Brain & Education from Harvard University. She was a Kellogg National Fellow and a Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 1994. She is a graduate of the Colorado College where she received an honorary doctorate in 1994.
Presentation Title: Public Perceptions of Private Prisons
Grant is originally from Powell, WY and began at the University of Wyoming in 2020. He has dual bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology; and Minors in Honors and Sociology. He currently works as a Cowboy Coach Student Peer Mentor in the Student Success and Graduation Department and will soon be starting as a SOAR Mentor for the Honors College. He is president of the Criminal Justice Club, a member of the Psi Chi chapter, and an avid participant of intramural flag football. His dream is to work for the FBI as a Special Agent, and in his Junior year, he had his first criminal justice career opportunity working as a Student Intern with the Wyoming Department of Corrections. He has also conducted research as an undergraduate research assistant in the Legal Decision-Making Lab (Director: Dr. Narina Nuñez). He is now conducting his own independent research project in the Social Cognition & Law Lab (Director: Dr. Kayla Burd). In this project, he is investigating public perceptions of private prisons. Specifically, he is examining how perceptions might change when participants are better informed about private prisons. He has had many unique opportunities through the Honors College, such as studying abroad on the Stealing Culture course, attending the Western Governor’s Leadership Institute, and working as a Program Coordinator for the High School Summer Institute. In his free time, he enjoys reading, spending time with friends, spending time outdoors, and playing video games.
Presentation Title: Que Picante! The Sexualized Language of Latina Women on Social Media
Veronica is originally from Casper, WY and is currently a senior at the University of Wyoming studying International Studies with minors in Statistics, Japanese, and Honors. She previously received an A.S. in Psychology from Casper College. In the summer of 2022, Veronica had the honor of being selected as a McNair Scholar at the University of Wyoming. This gave her the opportunity to conduct a summer research project titled Que Picante! The Sexualized Language of Latina Women on Social Media under the direction of faculty mentor Dr. James Alan Johnson. Veronica has also been actively involved with the Wyoming Latina Youth Center since 2019 under the direction of Cecilia Aragon. In the future, Veronica hopes to attend graduate school and aims towards working in foreign affairs.
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 UW Happy Jacks, and the UW Department of Theatre and Dance.
The University of Wyoming Happy Jacks enjoy a sense of camaraderie and congeniality that permeates rehearsals and performances alike. They are an auditioned tenorbass ensemble that are also members of the UW Singing Statesmen. Through performances of a diverse body of repertoire, the Happy Jacks strive to continually increase their musicianship skills, thereby positively contributing to high-quality musical endeavors.
“Tktktktk” was created during the 27th annual Snowy Range Summer Dance Festival (SRSDF)
held this past July. UW
dancers cast in this work rehearsed for seven days learning from esteemed dance artist Robert Kleinendorst. Kleinendorst
is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Towson University and performed with the Paul Taylor Dance Company for over
20 years. Training and working with world renowned dance artists serve as a cornerstone to the mission and vision of the
SRSDF. Experiences such as this provides an essential tool in the artistic growth of UW dancers.
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.
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.
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.