Karlem Riess Memorial Award

The Karlem Riess Memorial Award is a $500 cash award given to an outstanding Alpha of Louisiana inductee who has demonstrated a breadth of experience in the liberal arts and sciences. The award is named for Dr. Karlem “Ducky” Riess, who served as a member and officer of the Alpha of Louisiana chapter for more than half a century. Dr. Riess received his undergraduate degree from Tulane, and he returned to Tulane as a faculty member in physics after graduate study.

The seventeenth annual recipient of the Karlem Riess Memorial Award is Ben Hughes. One of Ben’s professors writes that “Ben is a truly exceptional student. He ranks easily among the absolute best students I have taught in 20 years at Tulane.” Another professor noted that “he’s wise and mature – as an academic and creative writer, and as a critical reader – far beyond his years. In conversation and in classroom discussion, he seems more like an advanced grad student than an undergraduate major.” As an English major, Ben has taken 14 classes in English and received an A in each one of them. He is in the Masters 4+1 program and has completed two graduate level English courses. And this semester he completed a creative honors thesis in English that one of his committee members evaluated as “truly outstanding.” That thesis committee member goes on to say that “It is an absolute joy to teach Ben, to hear his thoughts in class, and to talk with him about literature and ideas. He is exceptionally gifted as a reader, and his passion for literature and thoughtfulness comes through in all aspects of his classwork, written and oral. He is one of the very, very few students whom I would encourage to consider PhD study in English.”