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All issues  >  Spring/Summer 2011  >  First Silverstein Award

Photo: Roxanne Reese and Harry Silverstein

Roxanne Reese and Harry Silverstein / Photo by Phyllis Shier

Professor emeritus returns to award first 'Best Philosopher' prize

By Phyllis Shier, College of Liberal Arts

Philosophy major Roxanne Reese received the inaugural Harry and Lorinda Silverstein Philosophy Award for the best student philosopher this March at the Department of Philosophy's annual award ceremony.

Reese, a senior, was presented with a certificate, trophy, and a $1,000 prize from professor emeritus Harry Silverstein, who endowed the fund in April 2010 with his wife, Lorinda Knight Silverstein. He returned to the Palouse from San Francisco, where he and Lorinda now reside part of the year, to present the first award.

Reese was nominated and unanimously chosen for the prize by the philosophy department faculty. In addition to exceptional course work, faculty selected her for work she has conducted with Professor Joe Campbell, proofreading the manuscript of his forthcoming book Free Will (Polity Press, 2011).

Reese took a course in elementary logic from Silverstein in spring 2009, the semester before he retired from WSU, and did "extremely well," Silverstein said.

"Roxanne is a superb student and a superb philosopher, a perfect exemplar of what Lorinda and I had in mind when we created the Silverstein Philosophy Award."

Silverstein was thrilled to be able to present the award to Reese in person. "I am very glad that the first recipient of the award was actually a student of mine, for since I'm now retired that will not be true of any of the subsequent recipients," he said.

In turn, Reese was honored to be the first award recipient and humble in accepting the award. She sent an eloquent note to department faculty and to the Silversteins, expressing her appreciation of philosophy for teaching her "how to think" and thanking faculty for engaging in inspiring discussions with students.

In addition to stressing the importance of her discipline, Reese also wrote of the significance of the award to her personally.

"Although my academic interests have expanded a great deal since I first came to Washington State University, I am a philosophy student first, foremost, and forever," she said. "I can say 'thank you' for the award, for the certificate, the trophy, the scholarship—but I simply can't express what it means to me to have been chosen to receive it."

"Roxanne's letters of thanks and appreciation, both to the philosophy department and to Lorinda and me, were not only very kind but extremely thoughtful," Silverstein said. "It seems clear that she is not merely a wonderful philosopher but a wonderful person as well."

The Harry and Lorinda Silverstein Philosophy Award will be granted annually to the best student philosopher at WSU. Recipients can be graduate or undergraduate students, but need not be philosophy majors.



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