Sewanee Receives $1.1. Million Templeton Grant To Study Essay Contest

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The University of the South, familiarly known as Sewanee, has been awarded a grant by the John Templeton Foundation to study the Laws of Life Essay Contest. The award of more than $1.1 million will allow principal investigator Sherry Hamby, research associate professor in the Department of Psychology, to conduct a comprehensive mixed-methods evaluation of the essay contest.

The Laws of Life Essay Contest will be familiar to many people who either participated as students or have children who participated in the contest. The contest originated in Franklin County, Tn., the home of Sir John Templeton. The Laws of Life are principles such as the Golden Rule or "honesty is the best policy." Students choose the Law of Life that has been most important to them and write an essay on how it has touched their lives.

The Laws of Life Essay Contest has now celebrated its 25th anniversary and has expanded across the world. More than 100,000 students participate every year. It is one of several Templeton Foundation projects to promote moral character development.

The research project will be the first-ever scientific evaluation of the essay contest. Considerable research on other types of expressive writing and journaling programs indicates that these writing experiences can have long-lasting positive effects. Hamby and co-investigators Victoria Banyard (University of New Hampshire) and John Grych (Marquette University) will talk with people of all ages who have participated in the Laws of Life Essay Contest, as well as with a comparison group of people who did not participate. The study might include as many as 3,000 people from Franklin County and surrounding Tennessee counties.

The researchers will assess a wide range of possible outcomes to provide a comprehensive assessment of the effects of writing the essay and how expressive writing on the Laws of Life might help people as they experience challenges in life.

Ms. Hamby sees benefits to the University of the South, through the involvement of students and alumni in the research, and to its surrounding community. “Most importantly,” she said, “we hope that the results of the project will provide new insight and impetus to efforts promoting positive character development among young people here and in other countries.”

Sewanee: The University of the South, familiarly known as Sewanee, comprises a nationally recognized College of Arts and Sciences and a distinguished School of Theology. Located on 13,000 acres in Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Sewanee enrolls 1,500 undergraduates and approximately 100 seminarians. 


Southeast Bank Provides $28,000 Scholarship At Southern Adventist University For 2016-2017

SouthEast Bank executives from the Ooltewah branch visited with Southern Adventist University’s president, David C. Smith, PhD, and three of the four students directly impacted by this scholarship gift. During the lunch award meeting Caitlyn Bartlett was asked by Carolyn Hamilton, vice president for Advancement at Southern, what it meant to have received this scholarship for ... (click for more)

Ambassador Andrew Young To Visit McCallie School

The McCallie School is proud to host Civil Rights pioneer Andrew Young — former congressman, Atlanta Mayor and U.S. Ambassador to United Nations — to speak to the Upper School student body on Tuesday, Aug. 30, to speak to the Upper School student body and later spend time speaking with students in smaller settings. Ambassador Young’s visit has been made possible ... (click for more)

Maryville Police Department's Kenny Moats Was The Officer Slain Thursday

Officer Kenny Moats of the Maryville Police Department was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call on Thursday.  Officer Moats was with the department for over nine years and was currently serving as a drug enforcement agent. Assistant Commissioner David Purkey said, "It is with heavy heart that I express my condolences to the family and friends of ... (click for more)

Auto Burglary Thwarted In Bradley County

A man has been arrested in Bradley County, after attempting to steal a vehicle. On Thursday, Deputy Jessica Morgan observed a silver truck in a church parking lot on South Lee Highway. While checking the premises, Dep. Morgan observed a male wearing a black tank top and red shorts exiting the rear window of the cab into the bed of the truck. Once the suspect noticed Dep. Morgan, ... (click for more)

Pedestrians Have The Right Of Way - And Response

Often I visit Gold's Gym at Chestnut and 4th Street. I  park in the theater parking lot at Broad and 4th Street.  I depend on the walk signs to get me there safely.  Most days I almost get hit by someone turning left or right coming from the exit ramp off 27 or turning right on 4th street from Chestnut. This happened yesterday as I was almost mowed down by a garbage ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Abused By An EpiPen

It is a good guess that for about 30 years I have kept an EpiPen on the top of my refrigerator. I have never had to open the box, much less jab a dose of life-saving epinephrine into a person suffering from anaphylaxis. Whether it is a bee sting, peanut butter, shellfish or other allergies, I watched somebody come within inches of dying in my early 20s and swore I would have one ... (click for more)