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Congratulations Graduates and Departmental Award Winners!

As this challenging semester comes to a close, the UF Philosophy Department wants to congratulate graduating seniors, and wish them well as they go on to bigger things. Normally, we would hold a reception to celebrate our graduating majors, but the pandemic makes that impossible this year. Please know that we are thrilled for all of you! Graduating with a degree in philosophy is an enormous accomplishment. The Department is proud of the hard work, meaningful progress, and ambitious plans for our graduates this year.

Departmental Award Winners

Aimee Clesi has won the R. M. Hare Prize this year for her essay, “Hannah Arendt on Friendship as a Responsibility to the World.” The Hare Prize is awarded to the best undergraduate essay in moral philosophy each academic year.  It is named after R.M. Hare, one of the 20th century’s foremost ethical theorists and graduate research professor emeritus at UF. Congratulations Aimee!

Aimee is from Branford, Florida, the spring and cave diving capital of the world, located on the banks of the Suwannee River. She has always dreamed of becoming a lawyer and is especially interested in criminal defense, constitutional law, and civil rights. She has worked at the Supreme Court of Florida and for the State Attorney’s Office in Jacksonville and is greatly concerned with how ethical and moral standards guide the laws of the nation.​


Brett Hymel has won the Ellen Haring Award. This award was established in honor of the late Professor Ellen Haring for her many contributions to the Department of Philosophy at the University of Florida. Each year the award is bestowed upon a graduating philosophy major who demonstrates both academic excellence and service to the larger community.

The Philosophy Department is particularly impressed with Brett’s service on the Steering Committee of the Student Farmworker Alliance (SFA). The SFA is a national group of students who work to promote farmworker justice on behalf of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW).​  Brett has been active on campus, online, and on the national level.  Excellent work, Brett!

Brett Hymel is a graduating senior from Melbourne, Florida, who works with the latinx community through programs such as Acción Callejera and the Student Farmworker Alliance. He is interested in intersections between politics and philosophy, and believes in the power of the grassroots movement. In the future, Brett hopes to work as a community organizer and receive a graduate degree in creative writing.


Ph.D. Student James Simpson has won this year’s Kirk Ludwig prize. The department awards this prize each year to recognize the best paper written by a graduate student in philosophy. It is named after our former colleague Kirk Ludwig, who was closely involved with the graduate program during his twenty years as a member of the department.  James won for his paper “Safety’s Saving Grace—Novel Safety”. The committee was particularly impressed by the ambition and creativity of the paper. Congratulations James!