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Murphy Scholars Class of 2023 Announced

CONWAY, Ark. (April 8, 2020) – Thirty-two first-year Hendrix College students have been selected for the Murphy Scholars Program.

Murphy Scholars explore literature and language at a more intensive level by participating in designated study, travel, research, and service experiences in literature and language during their sophomore, junior, and senior years at Hendrix. The program is open to students of all majors; this year’s cohort includes students majoring in 17 unique areas of study.

Nearly 20% of the first-year class applied to the program, and roughly half of those applicants were selected as Murphy Scholars.

“Once again the selection committee was blown away by the excellence of the applicant pool,” said Hope Coulter, director of the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language, which developed and oversees the Murphy Scholars program. “It showed up in the students’ essays and in glowing references from faculty who taught them in their first semester on campus. The incoming Scholars are from a range of backgrounds, too. Even though they approach literature and language from a variety of angles—creative writing, Spanish, dramatic literature, to name a few—they share a sense of curiosity and passion about how words, stories, and languages shape our world.”

The Class of 2023 Murphy Scholars in Literature and Language are:

  • Mary Dann Betbeze of Mobile, Alabama (psychology major with a minor in French)     
  • Sydney Boone of Olive Branch, Mississippi (double major in English–creative writing and biology)
  • Keira Boop of Little Rock, Arkansas (politics major)
  • Halie Booth of Dallas, Texas (biochemistry/molecular biology major)          
  • Mary Claire Bright of Conway, Arkansas (psychology major)
  • Alexandria Cade of Little Rock, Arkansas (double major in health sciences and computer science)
  • Adaja Cooper of Little Rock, Arkansas (undecided)
  • Hannah Diggs of Hot Springs, Arkansas (double major in English–literary studies and history)
  • Landry Dosher of Gainesville, Texas (will major in theatre arts or English–literary studies)
  • Aubrey French of Houston, Texas (anthropology major)
  • Cristobal Garcia of Dallas, Texas (biochemistry/molecular biology major)
  • Chloe Griffith of Memphis, Tennessee (politics major)
  • Rye Hazlett of New Orleans, Louisiana (English–literary studies major)
  • Maia Henderson of Forrest City, Arkansas (English–literary studies major)
  • Makenzie Henderson of Little Rock, Arkansas (neuroscience major)
  • Shaunell Henderson of Sherwood, Arkansas (interdisciplinary studies major: human rights)
  • Gillian Henneberry of Benton, Arkansas (undecided)
  • Sophia Isely of Center Ridge, Arkansas (neuroscience major)
  • Kouadio Kondo of Little Rock, Arkansas (chemistry major)
  • Danielle Kuntz of Hot Springs, Arkansas (double major in English–creative writing and psychology)
  • Luis Lara of Bryant, Arkansas (double major in politics and Spanish)
  • Cassandra McLaughlan of Fort Smith, Arkansas (psychology major)
  • Phillip Powell of Jonesboro, Arkansas (double major in politics and English–creative writing)
  • Maggie Ryan of San Antonio, Texas (double major in English–literary studies and classics)
  • Hannah Samuel of Bentonville, Arkansas (English–Literary Studies major)
  • Trevor Sims of North Little Rock, Arkansas (anthropology major)
  • Drew Skelton of Brentwood, Tennessee (English–creative writing major)
  • Kolya Souvorin of Atlanta, Georgia (politics major)
  • Josh Thomeczek of St. Louis, Missouri (history major)
  • Renova Uwingabire of Kigali, Rwanda (psychology major)
  • Savanna Watts of Perryville, Arkansas (double major in biochemistry/molecular biology and Spanish)
  • Elizabeth Yang of Little Rock, Arkansas (neuroscience major)

All Murphy Scholars will graduate with distinction, having completed an Oxford-style tutorial course in language and literature and three of the Murphy Scholar Program’s approved co-curricular experiences in literature and language.

The Murphy Scholars Class of 2023 will be formally inducted into the program at a ceremony scheduled for Sept. 1, 2020.

About the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation

Hendrix-Murphy Programs enrich the study of literature and language for Hendrix College as a whole as well as for students with intensive interest in those areas. The late Mr. Charles H. Murphy, Jr., former Chair of the Board of Murphy Oil Corporation and former member of the Hendrix Board of Trustees, established the Foundation in 1978 in memory of his mother, Mrs. Bertie Wilson Murphy. A 1905 graduate of Galloway Women’s College—which later became part of Hendrix College—Mrs. Murphy possessed a lifelong love of literature and language, to which these programs are exclusively dedicated.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit