Four Fulbright College Honors Program Graduates Receive Harold D. Hantz Awards

Top, from left, Joshua Anderson and Armin Mortazavi; below, Anthony Eiler and Hilary Zedlitz.
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Top, from left, Joshua Anderson and Armin Mortazavi; below, Anthony Eiler and Hilary Zedlitz.

For more than 60 years, students at the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences who wanted more rigorous and unique courses to complement their educational goals have turned to the Fulbright College Honors Program.

And each year, the students who most embody the academic excellence of the program are selected to receive its highest honor — the Harold D. Hantz Awards and accompanying endowment. This year's honorees include:

  • Armin Mortazavi, Harold D. Hantz College Scholars Award
  • Joshua Anderson, Harold D. Hantz Departmental Scholars Award
  • Anthony Eller and Hilary Zedlitz, Margaret Kirby Hantz Service Awards

Named for philosophy professor Harold D. Hantz, who along with English professor Ben Kimpel founded the first honors program at the University of Arkansas in 1955, the awards are given to those who have continued Hantz's legacy through their scholarship. Including the Fulbright College Honors Program, there are now six honors programs at the U of A, united under the Honors College.

Every year, the top graduate in each Fulbright College honors track — College Scholars and Departmental Scholars — is recognized with a Hantz Award, and students who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the college and university are awarded the Margaret Kirby Hantz Service award, in honor of Harold Hantz's sister.

"We are very proud of these exemplary students," said Sidney Burris, professor of English and director of the Fulbright College Honors Program. "Dr. Hantz was involved in in the honors program until he passed away, and his unique vision, clear perspective and unwavering commitment were inspiring. Because of the foundation he built, our program has taken its place as one of the oldest and most distinguished honors programs in the country. And with students like Hilary, Anthony, Joshua and Armin it is easy to see why."

Armin Mortazavi began researching at the University of Arkansas immediately after his high school graduation thanks to an NSF REU that he received in his senior year. He was also selected as a Bodenhamer Fellow and continued to excel in both of his majors of chemistry and physics. Mortazavi's research with Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Roger Koeppe, which made use of deuterium magnetic resonance, was published in ChemBioChem — the top European journal for chemical biology in March and was even featured on the cover. He has been very involved in Alpha Epsilon Delta, American Chemical Society, Society of Physics Students, Highlands Oncology Group, and helped lead community health screenings during a study abroad experience in Belize. In March 2015, he was named the 50th U of A recipient of the prestigious Barry M Goldwater Scholarship. Mortazavi will pursue medical school at Georgetown University's School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. 

Joshua Anderson, a biology major, general business minor and Honors College Fellow, joined associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry T.K.S. Kumar's research team in 2013. He quickly developed a reputation for being a fast learner and mastered sophisticated experimental techniques that Kumar said ranked Anderson among the top 2 percent of honors students he has mentored. Anderson was also among the first students to participate in the Care Partners program, a partnership between the University of Arkansas and Washington Regional Medical Center where students get hands-on experience working with health care professionals and individuals at risk for medical complications. Anderson is also known for being "down to earth," readily helping other undergraduate students in his research group with their experiments. Anderson plans to attend medical school at University of Missouri's School of Medicine in Columbia, Missouri.

Anthony Eller has been involved with the Volunteer Action Center since his freshman year. He's been a leader in the program, but is equally comfortable behind the scenes filling bags in the pantry, tutoring children in literacy or building an outdoor classroom in the Delta. According to his colleagues, Eller's work ethic is the foundation of who he is — from the construction jobs he's taken to pay for school, to his class work. With the help of a Sturgis International Fellowship, Eller also spent a year studying abroad — taking a semester learning Spanish in Costa Rica and another semester in Panama working with indigenous groups in the public health sector. The experience changed Eller who, after one more upcoming study abroad opportunity, will transition to graduate school at Yale University where he will study Global Health.

Hilary Zedlitz, named Fulbright College's 2016 Outstanding Senior and Commencement Speaker, was an honors political science and Middle East studies dual major, with minors in Arabic and economics. Her academic accomplishments include being a Sturgis Fellow, earning the Arkansas Governor's Distinguished Scholarship, studying abroad with U of A programs in Belize and India, receiving a Presidential Fellow from the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress, and being a Harry S. Truman Scholarship finalist. She has been involved in volunteer work throughout her college career, including at the New Student & Family Programs office as a R.O.C.K. mentor. Zedlitz plans to pursue a career in public service, developing systems and programs that promote peace. This desire also led her to India in summer of 2015 where she participated in the U of A's TEXT Program, adding to the recordings of the stories, struggles, and victories of the Tibetan people living in exile. After graduation Zedlitz plans to work with the Seattle Service Corps for a year hopefully assisting in refugee resettlement.

About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with 19 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.


Andra Parrish Liwag, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences


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