Contests, honors, and awards
Annual awards in English literature:
James Robinson Award for Outstanding Senior English Major
$100 is awarded to the outstanding senior English major. The English faculty nominates candidates and we ask that each faculty member only nominate one student. The English department selects from a short list of students with GPAs of 3.8 or higher.
2022 winner — Chelsey Boyle
Outstanding Student in Pre-1700 Literature
$100 is awarded to the graduating senior who has excelled in the study of literature from the era before 1700.
2022 winner — Margaret McGreevy
Eleanor Meehan Award For Literary Excellence for the best critical essay written by an English major for an English course.
This prize consists of a $100 award and recognizes the best critical essay written by an English major for an English course. The essay should be of substantial length (at least 10 pages) and should address a literary work or works.
2022 winner — Alena Coleman
Winning paper: “'Every rational mind says, No': Reason or Resistance in the Age of Enlightenment”
Outstanding Honors Thesis Award recognizing the best thesis in literary criticism written by a senior in the English Honors Concentration.
The prize consists of a $200 award which recognizes the best thesis in literary criticism written by a senior in the English Honors Concentration. Candidates must be nominated by their advisors, who may nominate only one thesis per year. Entries should be emailed to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, along with a short paragraph describing the particular strengths of the thesis.
2022 winner — Alena Coleman
Winning paper: “August Wilson as Text and Testimony: A Three-Year Retrospective Analysis of a Community Theaters' Arts Intervention in Education & A Reading of African Religious Ritual and Gender in Joe Turner's Come and Gone”
Tom Brennan Prize for Excellence in Writing recognizing the best essay written for our gateway course, Introduction to Literary Studies.
Students enrolled in Introduction to Literary Studies during the preceding calendar year (spring and fall semesters) are eligible for the prize. Professors teaching Introduction to Literary Studies may submit one essay for consideration. The chair of the English department (or his or her designee) will select a judge each year to determine the winner. Essays will be judged for analytic acuity, stylistic clarity, and rhetorical force. The prize will be awarded each spring during the department’s Senior Thesis reading. The winner will receive $1,000, and will have the option of applying it toward the following year’s tuition or receiving a check. The winning essay will be posted and featured on the department’s website, and the winner’s name will be added to a plaque that will be prominently displayed in the main office of the English department.
2022 winner — Emma Stadelmann
Winning paper: “Innocence Denied: The Weaponization of Sexuality Against Young Girls in The Bluest Eye”
Students will be informed of all relevant submission dates via email from the Director of Undergraduate Studies or by inquiring within the English Department.