April 25, 2019  

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History Professor 2016 Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year

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Dr. Westley Follett

Dr. Westley Follett from the Department of History and the College of Arts and Letters at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus has been named the University’s Teacher of the Year by the Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC).

As this year’s celebrated humanities professor at Southern Miss, Dr. Follett will present a lecture on how the ideas of Francesco Petrarch, a late-medieval Italian poet and scholar, offer lessons on the value of the humanities for us today. His lecture is set for Nov. 17 at 4:30 p.m. in the Hardy Hall Ballroom on the Gulf Park campus, and will be followed by a reception. Faculty, students and community members are invited to attend.

Each year, the MHC honors outstanding humanities instructors from Southern Miss and other colleges and universities in Mississippi through its Humanities Teachers Awards. These awards celebrate Mississippi’s humanities teachers and serve to promote the continued interest in the humanities throughout the state.

Follett is a medievalist specializing in religious history, with emphases on monasticism, hagiography, liturgy and manuscript studies, and a geographical focus on pre-Norman Ireland. He is the author of Céli Dé in Ireland: Monastic Writing and Identity in the Early Middle Ages (2006) and a half-dozen peer-reviewed articles and book chapters published in journals and edited volumes. His recent research examined the veneration of Saint Michael the Archangel in early medieval Ireland. 

Prior to joining Southern Miss in 2008, Dr. Follett was the LeConte Teaching Fellow of Medieval History at the University of Georgia and a visiting assistant professor at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia. He held a post-doctoral scholarship in the School of Celtic Studies at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies where he studied late medieval manuscripts in the Royal Irish Academy. He received his doctorate from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, and currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in medieval, classical and world history at Southern Miss’ Gulf Park campus.

Follett and other recipients from across the state will by honored by MHC at an event next spring in Jackson, Miss.

MHC is a private nonprofit corporation funded by Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities. MHC sponsors, supports and conducts a wide range of programs designed to promote understanding of our cultural heritage, interpret our own experience, foster critical thinking, encourage reasonable public discourse, and strengthen our sense of community.