• Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Linguistics, Tulane University (1999)
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Houston (1997)
  • M.A., English Language and Literature, St. Mary’s University (1991)
  • M.A., Political Science, St. Mary’s University (1990)
  • B.A., Political Science with English-Communication Arts minor, St. Mary’s University (1986)


  • Language of Peace
  • Language and Power
  • Narrative Theory
  • Tolkien and Lewis: Mapping Friendship in Middle Earth, Narnia and San Antonio
  • How English Works
  • Grammar as Communication
  • Medieval Literature

Research Interests

  • Linguistics
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Politics and Language
  • Language and Gender
  • Marianist Studies


Mary Lynne Gasaway Hill, Ph.D., FRSA, serves as a professor and graduate program director in the Department of English Literature and Language, as well as moderator for the chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honor Society, and Internship Coordinator for the department. As a scholar, she has earned degrees across four disciplines (Linguistics, English, Political Science and Anthropology) and weaves theories and methods from each into her courses, undergraduate and graduate, as well as into her research. This interweaving is animated in her courses such as Language and Peace; Inventing Languages; Narrative Theory; Writing to Change the World; and Tolkien and Lewis: Mapping Friendship in Middle Earth, Narnia and San Antonio. Through this interdisciplinary approach, Hill supports students in the integration of their intellectual life with their co-curricular and emerging professional experiences, as they craft their personal, professional, and civic stories.

Hill’s latest book, Horizons of Joy: Poetic Thresholds for Winter (2021), and its Companion Journal (2021), introduce the practice of “meditative etymology” and is her first collection of poetry. She has presented this practice in a variety of workshops and retreats locally, regionally and internationally. Stories of protest, in chants, poems, songs and prose, are the basis of Hill’s book, The Language of Protest: Acts of Performance, Identity, and Legitimacy (2018). Students, through the McNair Scholars and Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) programs, participated in the research, design and publishing process of this project. Based on the reach and impact of the text, the University of Utrecht, Netherlands, invited Hill to serve as a keynote speaker for the international conference Words, Contention, and Memory, part of the project Remembering Activism: the Cultural Memory of Protest in Europe, funded by the European Research Council.

Hill’s interest in protest is related to her work with the Corrymeela Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Northern Ireland, where she and her family spent a year volunteering (2010-2011), and she studied Gaeilge/Irish language, conflict resolution and ethical remembering. In 2022, she, along with several St. Mary’s graduate students, are participating in Corrymeela’s Nurturing Hope, an international, intergenerational gathering of “People of Courage, Vision and Wisdom to develop practical ways in which we all might ‘live together well in our differences’ rather than ‘live together apart indifferently.’” Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, she served as a co-facilitator for Storywork: A Workshop in Narrative Practice at Corrymeela, exploring the transformative power of storytelling and narrative with students from nine different countries, with professions as diverse as physical therapist, social worker, lawyer, doctor, pastor and teacher.

San Antonio is a signator of the International Charter for Compassion. In 2020, as the world moved into lock-down, the San Antonio peaceCENTER created and implemented the first Compassion Institute for over 200 San Antonio educators, Pre-K through medical school. The Institute was attended by 100% of the colleges and universities in San Antonio. Hill served as part of the planning team, and then as a cohort leader, for the year-long experience, earning her the title of “Inaugural Fellow” for her efforts. 

Hill incorporates technology into all of her courses ranging from the production of e-portfolios, including LinkedIn profiles, to sentence diagramming via Coggle and Prezi, to curating Pecha Kuchas, social media posts and videos into Scalar and into the University’s Digital Commons. Her Medieval Literature course produced a full-length movie, State Dinner Disaster, which brought to life characters from The Canterbury Tales and the Arthurian legends. Exploring various technologies in the classroom has fueled research articles such as “Digital Diagramming” in Practical Composition: Classroom Exercises for the Composition Instructor (2014) and in presentations such as “Negotiating Borders through Digital Collaboration” at the Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference (2016).

Hill has presented at the most prestigious conference in her area, Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines (CADAAD) in Budapest, and published articles in the Social Science Journal, the Journal for Civic Commitment, the Journal of Catholic Higher Education, and Women & Language. Her other books include The Uncompromising Diary of Sallie McNeill, 1858-1867 (2009) and Stories from the Wake (2005), respectively. For her animation of the University’s mission, Hill has received two of St. Mary’s University’s highest honors, the Distinguished Faculty Award and the Marianist Heritage Award. She was one of only 12 lay participants nationwide invited to the Society of Mary’s most recent assembly

Selected Presentations and Publications

Presenter, Epiphanies of Future Imperfect: The Speech Act of Re-casting Jan. 6 as Legitimate Political Discourse. Future Imperfect: Language in Times of Crisis and Hope. Society for Linguistic Anthropology, 2022.

Author, “Muzhnist: Courage.” Voices with Ukraine, Public Poetry Reading, Main Plaza, San Antonio, 2022.

Facilitator, Women’s Voices of Hope, featuring Patricia Mejia, VP Civic Engagement, San Antonio Area Foundation, Kiran Kaur Baines, CEO, SA2020, and Sr. Susan Mika, OSB, 2022.  

Presenter, “Meditative Etymologies for Nollaig Na mBan,” an International gathering of women to celebrate the Irish tradition of Women’s Christmas, January 6, 2022.

Author, Horizons of Joy: Poetic Thresholds for Winter and its Companion Journal. River Lily Press, 2021.

Co-presenter, Embodied Thresholds, a restorative gathering of yoga, meditation, and poetry, for graduate students, 2021.

Featured Poet, “Complementary Cousins.” Art Heals Hearts. Ecumenical Center for Education, Counseling, and Health. San Antonio, 2021.

Co-Presenter, Story and the Classroom in the Era of Covid 19. San Antonio Dream Week Workshop, 2021. 

Presenter, Story and Forgiveness: Imagining Possibilities. San Antonio Dream Week Workshop, 2021.

Facilitator, Then. Now. Now, Then? An international conversation between Naomi Shihab Nye, Young Person’s Poet Laureate of the United States, and Pádraig Ó’Tuama, host for Poetry Unbound, National Public Radio. Hosted by Compassionate SA and the San Antonio peaceCENTER, 2021.

Member of Planning & Implementation Team, SA Compassionate Institute 2020. Author, The Language of Protest-Acts of Performance, Identity, and Legitimacy. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.


  • Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, 2020
  • Inaugural Edward and Linda Speed Peace and Justice Fellow, 2015
  • Althoff Catholic High School 50th Anniversary Distinguished Alumni-Hall of Inspiration, Belleville, Illinois, 2014
  • Excellence in Education Award from San Antonio City Council District Seven, 2013
  • Distinguished Faculty Award, St. Mary’s University, 2004
  • Marianist Heritage Award, St. Mary’s University, 2000
  • Alice Franzke Feminist Award, St. Mary’s University, 1990
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