Student Awards and Scholarships

The English Department is proud to offer the following awards and scholarships in recognition of the outstanding achievements of our students. Honorees are notified at various times throughout the fall and spring semesters and are formally recognized at the College of Arts & Humanities annual student recognition event, as well as the English Department's year-end awards and recognition ceremony. Recipients for all awards listed below (with the exception of the CAH Outstanding Student Award) are chosen by English Department faculty.


Alan W. France Memorial Writing Award
Eligibility: Students in General Education Writing Courses

Established in 2002 in honor of our esteemed colleague Al France (who taught in the English Department from 1989 until his death in 2001), this award is conferred each spring on a student in a general education writing course (WRT 120, WRT 123, or one of the WRT 200s) from the past 12 months. The award recognizes the best essay exploring relationships among language, thought, and culture. Students may be nominated by an instructor, with the student's permission, or may nominate themselves. Winners receive a cash prize, a memorial beret, and recognition at the English faculty's year-end party. Read tributes to Al France by his family, friends, and colleagues .


Past Recipients

Best Seminar Paper Award
Eligibility: Students in ENG 400 Seminars

Established in 2005, this award is presented each spring to the student who has written the best paper in an ENG 400 research seminar for the given academic year (including the current semester and the previous fall, summer, and spring semesters). Individual faculty members nominate students from their own seminars, and the winner receives a cash prize.


Past Recipients


EAPSU Outstanding English Major Award
Eligibility: All English Majors

The EAPSU award is given each spring to an English major who has an outstanding GPA, has participated in English-related extracurricular activities, and has authored a distinguished essay in an English course. Four nominees with the highest GPAs and 80-110 credits are identified by faculty and asked to submit one "A" paper of significant intellectual or artistic merit, along with a submission form and a list of activities. The winner then presents the paper at the annual EAPSU conference the following fall, and receives a cash prize, a plaque, and reimbursement for the cost of attending the conference.


Past Recipients


English Department Faculty Scholarship
Eligibility: Incoming English Majors

This scholarship, funded by the English faculty, is awarded each spring to a declared English major who will be entering WCU the following fall, either as a first-year or transfer student. (The student's WCU application must be submitted by late February.) Nominees with outstanding GPAs and SAT/ACT scores are identified by the faculty and invited to submit a five-page, non-fiction writing sample. Scholarship funds are divided over the two semesters of the winner's first year at WCU. To retain the prize for the second semester, the recipient must attain a GPA of 3.0 in the first semester and must remain an English major and maintain full-time status in both terms.


Past Recipients


Herbert Mitchell Scholarship
Eligibility: Incoming English Majors

Established in 2014 after a landmark gift to the university by WCU alumni Herbert and Gloria (Hedley) Mitchell, this scholarship is awarded each spring to two incoming English majors who show exceptional scholastic achievement and community involvement. Nominees with outstanding GPAs and SAT/ACT scores are identified by English faculty and asked to submit statements detailing their accomplishments and future goals. Winners receive scholarship funds of $2,500 annually for four years. In order to retain the scholarship, the recipient must remain an English major, attend classes full-time, and maintain a GPA of at least 3.6 in the major and 3.4 overall.


Past Recipients


John Feely Hopkins Short Story Award
Eligibility: Graduating Senior Creative Writing Students

Instituted in 2002, this award is presented each spring to a graduating senior whose portfolio of short stories exhibits imagination, artistic merit, high literary quality, and growth in content and commitment, as determined by members of the English Department's Creative Writing faculty. The winner receives a cash prize.


Past Recipients


Michael Peich Scholarship
Eligibility: Undergraduate and Graduate Students Interested in Poetry

This scholarship, established by emeritus English professor and WCU Poetry Center founder Michael Peich, recognizes WCU students who have a strong affinity for poetry. Students may apply for one of five $1,000 tuition scholarships by submitting a one-page personal essay that "articulates the importance of poetry in their lives, whether as writers or readers."  The application deadline typically falls in late April, and the award is administered jointly through the English Department and the Poetry Center.


Past Recipients


Viola Marple Scholarship
Eligibility: Non-Graduating Female English Majors

This scholarship, established in memory of former English faculty member Viola Marple, honors two non-graduating female English majors who exemplify the highest standards in scholarly achievement and service, as determined by the English Department faculty. Requirements include a minimum GPA of 3.51 and 61-90 credit hours earned. Nominees who meet these qualifications are asked to submit a brief statement, and the two winners are determined by an English faculty vote. Winners are named each spring, and scholarship funds are disbursed evenly over the following fall and spring semesters. The award is co-administered by the WCU Alumni Association.


Past Recipients


Walker Hamilton Award
Eligibility: Graduating Senior English Majors

This award, established by the family of David McKenty, a former professor and chair in the English department, honors the memory of another former colleague in English, Walker Hamilton. It recognizes outstanding academic achievement by a graduating senior English major. Winners receive a cash prize.


Past Recipients


CAH Outstanding Student Award
Eligibility: Graduating Seniors Majoring in any CAH Discipline

This award is given each spring to a graduating senior who is majoring in a College of Arts & Humanities (CAH) discipline and who demonstrates exceptional intellectual or creative achievement and strong extracurricular and service activities. Students must be nominated by a CAH faculty member and hold a minimum GPA of 3.5; nominees then submit an application form, personal statement, resume, and two faculty letters of recommendation. Nomination and application deadlines are usually announced by the CAH dean’s office early in the spring semester and typically fall in late March or early April. (Note: although this award is administered by CAH—and not the English Department—we list it here in order to make English students and faculty aware of this opportunity. English majors are well represented in the ranks of past winners.) For more information, please contact the CAH dean's office.


Past Recipients (English Majors)