2006 Ann Simon fundraising letter

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Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare to celebrate our first fifteen years of existence, let us also remember someone who was key to WGS's development as a program: Ann Simon. The third anniversary of Ann's death and the selection of the fourth Ann Veronica Simon Outstanding Gender Studies Dissertation Award are fitting occasions for us to remember Ann, and to make a contribution in her memory.

Ann, the first Coordinator of WGS, would have been 37 this February. After her death in 2003, her family and friends established the Dissertation Award as the best way to memorialize Ann's commitments and wishes. WGS has now awarded three annual prizes of $500 to students whose dissertations demonstrate some of Ann's own critical acumen, creativity, and originality.

Many of you will remember Ann warmly from when WGS first began, and from her participation in the first WGS Summer Institute. Although it's hard to believe now, Ann, supported as our Coordinator through a graduate student stipend, and some student workers were the sole staff support for a still-new and very busy unit. Ann was at the center of everything we did, and many of the courses and initiatives we still pursue were shaped by her ideas, as well as those of the first Coordinating Councils.

Ann received her MFA in creative writing from LSU in 1993, with the completion of her poetry thesis, "My Life as a Mouth Breather." When she died, she was completing a Ph.D. in Rhetoric at Berkeley. Her dissertation, directed by Judith Butler, was on changing feminist interpretations of modernist novels by women. An astute analysis of what Ann termed "the highly portable term 'realism,'" the dissertation argued for the role of experimental language as a feminist praxis in authors such as Stein and Woolf via narrative theory, epistemology, and discourse theory. Ann published on Woolf and Allegra Goodman, and also continued to write poetry, twice being awarded Berkeley's Eisner prize for creative achievement in literature.

Ann gave us a great deal while we were starting WGS. That legacy continues, as does the one given through the Ann Veronica Simon Outstanding Gender Studies Dissertation Award. . . . Please give generously in her memory, and in order to keep that memory alive through the next fifteen year of students distinguished by being associated with her.

Contributions can be sent to:

LSU Foundation/Ann Simon Fund
3838 West Lakeshore Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Many thanks for your generosity.

Michelle Massé


Apparently this continues to be a thing, as of 2019: https://www.lsu.edu/hss/wgs/about_us/wgsawards.php -- see "Ann Veronica Simon Outstanding Dissertation Award".