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Two from UW Music awarded UW Dean's Medals

Submitted by Joanne De Pue on July 7, 2023 - 2:51pm
UW Music gradutes Clayton Dahm and Lucille Axtelle were named College of Arts and Sciences dean’s medalists (Photo: Joanne DePue)
UW Music gradutes Clayton Dahm and Lucille Axtelle were named College of Arts and Sciences dean’s medalists (Photo: Joanne DePue)

The University of Washington Dean’s Medal and Arts and Sciences Graduate Medal—top honors awarded to graduating UW undergraduate and graduate students—have been awarded to not one, but two School of Music students for 2022-23. 

Undergraduate Lucy Axtelle and graduate student Clayton Dahm are the UW Arts division recipients of the honors, awarded to College of Arts and Sciences graduates with exceptional records of academic achievement.

“I’m so pleased that you are being recognized for your outstanding accomplishments and for all you have achieved during your time at the University of Washington,” wrote Dianne Harris, dean of the College, in her letter to the award winners. “This is one of the most distinguished honors we bestow, and I’m very pleased to commend you on your amazing record of academic achievement.” 

Axtelle, who graduated in June 2023 with BAs in Ethnomusicology and Anthropology, was nominated for the honor by Ethnomusicology Professor Shannon Dudley. I especially want to underscore Lucy’s positive spirit, which is what helped her excel in all these ways despite a visual impairment related to her albinism,” Dudley says. “I also saw her working hard outside her comfort zone in classes that challenged her rhythmically—never getting discouraged, always working to do her best and taking pleasure in what she learned and shared in playing with the group. Lucy has been a delight and an inspiration to work with!”

A passionate advocate for broadening accessible spaces on campus and creating a strong UW disability community, Axtelle served during her time at the UW as the Community Outreach intern for the UW’s Office of Inclusive Design, a new ASUW office dedicated to making UW spaces more inclusive and accessible for all students. Axtelle continued this work as a summer intern at the Burke Museum, where she joined other students in creating Archaeology Accessibility Boxes as part of the Blind and Low Visibility project to make the exhibits more immersive and interactive for visitors with disabilities. 

At the Music Building, Axtelle created a hallway exhibit of instruments from the Ethnomusicology program’s extensive musical instrument collection, bringing visibility to an important but seldom-seen School of Music resource. 

The nomination for Dahm, who graduated in June 2023 with a PhD in Music Education, was initiated by Patricia Campbell, professor emeritus of Music Education and chair of Dahm’s PhD supervisory committee.   

“Clayton Dahm has been an exemplary contributor to our community at UW, to the Seattle community, and to his field, creating work that has the capacity to make meaningful change in the lives of children,” she wrote in her nomination letter.  “His degree at the UW is a result of his blended studies in Ethnomusicology, Anthropology, and courses in the College of Education relevant to social justice and the integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion in curriculum and instruction for children and youth in schools as well as out in the community.”

As part of his work as a graduate assistant for the Music Education Program, Dahm supervised student teachers from the Music Education Program, offering students in the certification program valuable insights into the realities of teaching music in public school settings. 

“He is making his mark as a practitioner and scholar on the relevance of social justice and intercultural understanding through carefully crafted curriculum,” Campbell notes. “He is already integrating his dissertation research into teaching practices here in the Seattle area.”