College Awards Hoopes Prize; Lowell Takes 12

Sixty-five seniors were named recipients of the Hoopes Prize, an award for outstanding senior theses and one of the College's most prestigious honors, the Harvard News Office announced yesterday.

The prize, which is sponsored by the estate of Thomas T. Hoopes '19, awards excellence in research projects--typically senior honors theses--in any subject. This year, of the 182 projects that were nominated, the selection committee named 65 Hoopes Prize winners and 3 honorable mentions.

In order to be considered for the prize, a supervising Faculty member must nominate the student's thesis on the basis of its broader significance and likely effects on future work in the field. The work is then evaluated by sub-committees of Faculty members. "I'm always surprised when something particular to a specific field will strike others outside the field as interesting," said Eric M. Nelson '99, who wrote a prize-winning thesis on political theorist Thomas Hobbes.

Nelson, a history concentrator, obtained a grant to perform field work in England last summer, where he examined original books and manuscripts from the 15th and 16th centuries.


"I really enjoyed working on it--I didn't look at it as a chore," Nelson said of the thesis writing process.

In addition to the $2,500 prize for student winners, the prize awards the nominating Faculty member with a $700 prize.

"It's an award not so much for what I've done but for what I've learned," said Stephanie A.V. Gibbs '99, a literature concentrator. "In that sense, it's an award to Faculty as well."

Gibbs's thesis on medieval French literature involved translating a 15th century manuscript for which no English translation existed.

"The first thing I'm going to do [with the prize money] is take my thesis advisor out to dinner," Gibbs said.

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