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Lyon students receive Tebbetts endowment to travel to academic conferences

The Tebbetts Student Domestic Travel Endowment awarded funds to the first group of Lyon College students, allowing them to present papers and research at academic conferences.

Dr. Terrell Tebbetts, the Martha Heasley Cox Chair in American Literature, began building the endowment on the anniversary of his 40th year teaching at Lyon. He wanted to support student travel in the United States the same way the Nichols Endowment supports student travel abroad.

“I chose to make this gift because of the many times I’ve traveled with students in the U.S. and have seen them benefit from their experiences,” Tebbetts said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the first supported travel this year, my 50th year here at the College.”

Over 100 alumni gave gifts to the endowment last fall in honor of Tebbetts’ 50th year. Roughly half of its current value came from their contributions.

Seniors Cade Archer and Nicholas Hall had papers accepted by the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies. The endowment gave them $200 each to travel to the conference in Dallas, Texas, from Feb. 28 to March 1.

Hall, a religion/philosophy major from Beebe, presented “Shawarma, Suffering, and Somalis: A Story from ‘Little Mogadishu.’”

“We were honored to receive this award,” he said. “Without it, the whole process of funding would have been considerably more difficult.”

Archer, a religion/philosophy and history double major from Sugar Land, Texas, presented “Capital Punishment in Texas.”

“It was great to receive this support,” he said, “and even more meaningful because of [Tebbetts’] additional role as the faculty advisor for my fraternity, Kappa Sigma.”

Seniors Ellie Embry and Haley Reed and juniors John Pruden and Hannah Zang were awarded endowment funds to present research and papers at the Alpha Chi National Convention in Albuquerque, NM, from March 19 through 21. 

Unfortunately, the Alpha Chi National Convention was canceled due to the COV-19 pandemic.

With the endowment now in place, Tebbetts hopes no student will ever have to miss a trip in the United States because of the cost.

“This chance to present their scholarship at academic conferences is just what I had in mind starting the endowment. I’m pleased to see [these students] as the inaugural recipients of the endowment’s travel funds.”