Prōfectus: The Sewanee Purple’s Alysse Schultheis

By Lam Ho

Executive Editor

Today the last issue of The Sewanee Purple circulates on the Domain, marking the end of the two terms of Editor-in-Chief Alysse Schultheis (C’16). A student in the Departments of Psychology, English, and Neuroscience, Schultheis has demonstrated leadership beyond the classroom, taking on the historical role of editor-in-chief with aplomb. While her time has ended, her impact survives in the words of those she has inspired. Mary Morrison (C’15), former Editor-in-Chief, said, “One of the best ways to gain power at the Purple is just to show up and refuse to leave. Starting her freshman year, Alysse did that and so much more. She immediately made herself useful, streamlining the editing and layout processes. Quickly, she became Julia Wallace’s (C’14) and my go-to problem solver.”

Fiancé Taylor Morris (C’16) urged Schultheis to continue her work at the Purple as a freshman staff writer. From there, she discovered a passion for writing and editing beyond a biweekly commitment. With a unique work ethic and sense of style that transformed the layout editing of the paper, she helped and impressed the leaders before her, who promptly found themselves relying on her input to make improve the paper’s quality and following. Professor Bill Engel of the Department of English said, “Alysse’s work is so meticulously executed and carefully conceived, that she is the only Sewanee student ever whom I hired on as a summer research assistant (on a huge book project–for which she is thanked in the acknowledgments). She was teaching me things about the ‘interweb’ and search engines and inter-library loan.”

One can find Schultheis sitting in Gailor Hall diligently working. Despite her impressive level of commitments, she never fails to smile at passersby. Schultheis also demonstrates notable excellence in fencing and leadership within the fencing team. Engel said, “Not only is she an amazing fencer, she took a leadership role in helping our club get the equipment we needed so new fencers can compete along side the old-timers. Rarely does one find such unbounded intelligence packed so gracefully in such a compassionate body. Although Alysse may at times hide her light under a bushel, it shines all the brighter as a result.” Marion Givhan (C’18) has worked under Schultheis as a staff writer and junior editor. Despite tricky articles and repetitive layout questions, Schultheis has shown incredible patience and kindness toward everyone on the Purple’s staff. “At editing and layout sessions, she proves to be the most reasonable person in the room,” said Givhan. “Her dedication to the Purple is inspiring, and she makes long Sundays in the Purple office a fun experience.” Page Forrest (C’17), Managing Editor, said, “After spending eight hours in a cramped, overheated room every other Sunday with someone, you’d think you’d resent them at least a little bit. Amazingly, that’s not the case with Alysse. In addition to being an incredibly competent editor-in-chief, she’s one of the most genuine, friendly people I’ve met. She’s quietly hilarious and sarcastic, but also respects everyone, and makes sure everyone has the opportunity to grow and learn while working on the Purple. I’m devastated I missed Alysse’s last semester on the Purple, but I know she has two comprehensive exams to destroy in the spring. Much love to my loser-in-chief – you made me proud to have the title of ‘managing loser.’”

Morrison added, “Alysse is amazing, and not just because we have the same birthday (which always seemed to fall on Purple meetings). She’s a silent killer: she doesn’t talk about what she wants to accomplish, she just accomplishes it. Should the world fall into chaos, I’d put Alysse at the helm of the new world order. In the four years I’ve known her, she has grown as a person, leader, and friend. I’m so proud of the Purple’s continuing legacy (though in my head, I’m still a junior editor and Pamela Guerra (C’13) is still in charge). I know her future is a bright one, and I can’t wait to see how her story unfolds. Also, I wish her luck in her impending nuptials.”