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Scholarship established for Barrett Honors College students studying hermeneutics

Applications for the Dr. Ramsey Eric Ramsey Scholarship open in fall 2024

Black-and-white photo of Ramsey Eric Ramsey wearing glasses and looking downward

Ramsey Eric Ramsey, professor in Barrett Honors College at the ASU West Valley campus. Photo courtesy Ramsey Eric Ramsey

May 08, 2024

A scholarship has been established for students in Barrett, The Honors College at the Arizona State University West Valley campus studying the centrality of language and interpretation to human flourishing, known as hermeneutics.

“Those of us who study hermeneutics believe it is the philosophy for the contemporary age and, as such, takes its place as a central part of the best educations in the humanities,” said Ramsey Eric Ramsey, a professor in Barrett Honors College and the ASU School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

“Indeed, whether folks call it such, hermeneutics is the manner in which we address the classic texts in the Barrett signature courses The Human Event and The History of Ideas,” he added.

The scholarship will support students whose experience in Barrett signature courses leads to their honors thesis work in which interpretation of texts plays a central role.

“Because of the relation of hermeneutics to the humanities, this scholarship will help keep robust the humanistic study of culture and its artifacts by supporting the next generation of hermeneutic thinkers,” Ramsey said.

Interested Barrett West Valley campus students can apply for the Dr. Ramsey Eric Ramsey Scholarship through the Barrett scholarship portal beginning this fall. The application will open on Nov. 1, 2024, and close on Feb. 1, 2025.  

Ramsey said the study of hermeneutics extends beyond students’ undergraduate experiences. 

Last year, he, along with Diane Gruber, teaching professor in Barrett at the West Valley campus, accompanied honors college alumni doing graduate work in the humanities at a European hermeneutics conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The conference was co-sponsored by Barrett Honors College and the Forum for the Humanities of the Institute Nova Revija, of which Ramsey is a fellow. It was the fourth such international symposium Gruber and Ramsey have attended with Barrett alumni.

“The European event is evidence that Barrett alumni continue to study hermeneutics in various graduate programs across the U.S.,” Ramsey said.

“The chance to participate in events such as this international hermeneutics symposium is a keen demonstration of how Barrett stays with students long after graduation and how having been in Barrett forever contributes to your career,” he added.

Five students who had studied with Ramsey and Gruber while at ASU participated in the event, titled "International Symposium on Hermeneutic Philosophy: On Beauty — The Utopia of Imagination, Hear and Now?" and held last June at the internationally known Hostel Celica, a former political prison transformed into a hostel welcoming travelers from every continent.

The students — Elise Poll, Adam Goldsmith, Jordan Huston, Jared Rusnak and Hailey Gilles — all presented original research at the symposium after preparing for the event in numerous pre-departure meetings with Ramsey and Gruber.

Photo of Barrett alums at hermeneutics conference
Alumni from Barrett, The Honors College at the ASU West Valley campus attended a symposium on hermeneutic philosophy in Slovenia last fall. Back row, from left: Adam Goldsmith, Jordan Huston and Jared Rusnak; front row, from left: Elise Poll and Hailey Gilles. Photo courtesy Ramsey Eric Ramsey

Barrett West alumnus Rusnak saw the post-graduate benefit in attending such an international gathering, saying it “proved beyond a shadow of doubt that Barrett will always care for my continued education beyond graduation.”

Meeting scholars from other countries allowed for "fruitful conversation that produced solid career advice, elucidated understandings of once-vague concepts, and (we) grew a genuine sense of friendship. I cannot imagine a better start to my post-graduate education than this international symposium,” said Rusnak, who will begin graduate study next fall at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gilles, a student in a number of Ramsey’s hermeneutic seminars while in Barrett, is now studying at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

“As many of my current law professors love to remind us all, the practice of law is mostly performed through writing. The continued opportunities, such as this symposium, to practice my research, reasoning, and writing contributes much to my law school experience,” she said.

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