Sophia Tully ’23, a philosophy-political science major and Westover Honors Fellow from Midlothian, Virginia, has been named the University of Lynchburg’s 2022-23 Sommerville Scholar. The award, the University’s highest academic honor, was presented on Friday, Oct. 21, at the Daura Museum of Art.
Tully, who has minors in law and society and English, is president of the Westover Honors College Executive Board, serving her second term. She is captain of Lynchburg’s NCAA Division III softball team and a tutor at the Wilmer Writing Center.
Tully also served as a staff researcher for a congressional candidate this past summer and was a digital field intern for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2020. After graduating from Lynchburg, she plans to attend law school.
In her letter to the Sommerville selection committee, Tully said, among other things, that nothing excites her more than “being able to spend time working to unpack and understand a text with my peers. To me, each class poses a new opportunity for intellectual adventure, and I dedicate myself to treating scholarship like my playground.”
Many of Tully’s classes have been taught by Dr. Devon Brickhouse-Bryson, assistant professor of philosophy and one of her academic advisors. He also is director of her honors thesis which, as Tully describes it, “interrogates how rational actors achieve accurate beliefs about the world around them and how holding contradictory beliefs and evidence can have a dangerous impact on how we secure political systems.”
In a letter recommending Tully for the Sommerville Scholar, Brickhouse-Bryson wrote that she “displays all of the prized academic qualities that constitute the habits of a good scholar dedicated to the continual cultivation of wisdom and understanding: she is a quick study, a curious learner, a diligent worker, and a skilled and logical thinker and writer.”
He added, “I can think of no other student this year who better exemplifies the values of the Sommerville Scholarship than Sophie.”
Tully was one of five finalists for the award. Finalists also included Claire Corte ’23, a criminology-philosophy and Spanish major from Parkville, Maryland; Rebecca Faulkner ’23, a liberal arts studies major from Chester, Virginia; Winona Gear ’23, a sociology major from Monroe, Virginia; and Rebecca Owens ’23, a special education major and Westover Honors Fellow from Fairfax, Virginia.
Established in 1963, the Sommerville Scholar is named for Richard Clarke Sommerville, a professor of philosophy and psychology at Lynchburg from 1928 to 1947. Sommerville Scholars must be of good character, as evidenced by ideals, attitudes, observance of University regulations, and personal behavior, with an overall GPA in academic subjects of 3.5 or better. They also must exhibit qualities that were important to Sommerville: academic achievement, broad intellectual curiosity, and contributions to the University community.