Emily Dec '13 wins top English literature award from Judge Christina Reiss '84

By: Buff Lindau

joan wry, emily dec, and christina riess '64

L to R: Christina Reiss '84, Emily Dec '13, Joan Wry '79

Emily Dec '13, majoring in both English and political science, was awarded a special gift as the top literature student for 2013 at a ceremony held on campus May 3. Every year U.S. District Court of Vermont Chief Judge Christina Reiss '84 awards a clock and a cash gift to a literature student, in honor of her father, the late Dr. John Reiss, a long-time professor of English at Saint Michael's.

"Every year my father said there were one or two students who really lit up the semester," Judge Reiss said. She was pleased to give the award to a student who, she learned, had done that for other professors. The ceremony was attended by some 20 Saint Michael's faculty members.

Emily Dec, the daughter of Sharlene Dec and the late David Dec, of Ludow, MA, was described by her professor Will Marquess, as "smart, engaged, lively, strong, and very hard-working." Ms. Dec carried out an independent study of Virginia Woolf with Professor Marquess. He referenced a portion of Virginia Woolf's book To the Lighthouse in characterizing Dec: A character is trying to capture a vision in paint: "One wanted, she thought, dipping her brush deliberately, to be on a level with ordinary experience, to feel simply that's a chair, that’s a table, and yet at the same time, it’s a miracle, it’s an ecstasy."

Dec was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in April. While a full-time student, she also works locally at Barnes & Noble, and, Professor Marquess said, "Makes wonderful book recommendations."

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