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Department News & Events

Rita Dove awarded honorary doctorate from Yale University
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

At its 313th Commencement on Monday, May 19, 2014, Yale University bestowed an Honorary Doctor of Letters on Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

Among Ms. Dove’s fellow honorees are Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web; Daniel Kahneman, 2002 Nobel laureate in economics; Joseph Polisi, president of the Juilliard School; Michael Posner, the U.S. State Department’s top human rights official from 2009-2013; actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith; bluegrass musician Ralph Stanley; Ahmed Zewail, 1999 Nobel laureate in chemistry; and eminent medical researcher Huda Zoghbi.

English majors Matt Bollinger and Tommy Casalaspi win two national Quizbowl titles
Sunday, May 11, 2014

This year, the UVA quizbowl team consisting of Matt Bollinger (undergrad, English), Tommy Casalaspi (undergrad, English), Evan Adams (grad, law), and Dennis Loo (grad, math) performed the rare feat of uniting the sport's two national titles. On March 29 they won the NAQT Intercollegiate Championship Tournament. Then, on April 12-13, they went undefeated to clear the field at the National Championship hosted by the Academic Competition Federation. Both tournaments featured intense head-to-head competition on questions testing for graduate-level knowledge of literature, history, biology, chemistry, physics, philosophy, religion, classical music, visual arts, and social science, among other categories.

Nine English majors elected to Phi Beta Kappa
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Congratulations to the following English majors who have just been elected to the UVa chapter of Phi Beta Kappa!

Abigail McKenzie Meredith

Emily Rose Sullivan

Kevin Christian Hermann

Morgan Alayna Dresner

Seyed-Sassan Mousavi-Vapouri

Elizabeth Barrott Bickley

Katherine Todd Hutto

Laura Ritland Gaul

Sarah Elizabeth Angelo

As the oldest and most distinguished honor society in the country, Phi Beta Kappa offers membership to less than one percent of all undergraduates. Many of the leading figures in American history and culture have begun their careers with election to the society, including seventeen presidents of the United States. As a result, membership is a remarkable accomplishment, both for the student who achieves it and the faculty and staff whose support and guidance has led to this milestone.

Professor John O'Brien awarded Daniels Family NEH Distinguished Teaching Professorship
Friday, April 11, 2014

Professor John O'Brien of the English Department has been awarded the Daniels Family National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professorship, a three-year appointment. O'Brien describes his project in part thus:

"I will use the three-year term of this award to engage students in the task of editing and annotating primary literary texts for use by other students. Over time, we will build a repository on the web of fully edited and annotated literary works that will be available for use by students and teacher around the world, who will also be invited to participate by adding additional texts and supporting materials. My project will built upon this University's well-established capabilities in the digital humanities and will bring students into contact with University resources like the Special Collections Library, the Scholars' Lab, the Digital Media Lab, and SHANTI. Most important, it will demonstrate how students can work collectively to make lasting contributions to scholarship and to the digital commons. They will learn by doing, and will create something that can be shared by others. The three years of this professorship should be long enough to bring this project to the proof-of-concept stage, establishing standards of work flow and sustainability so that we can demonstrate this to teachers at other colleges and universities."

Professor A. C. Spearing awarded Doctor of Letters from Cambridge
Friday, April 11, 2014

A C Spearing, William R Kenan, Jr Professor of English, has been awarded the Doctor of Letters (Litt.D) from the University of Cambridge, an honor conferred on those who have achieved the highest national or international prominence in their field.