Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Illinois Department of English Blog


Welcome to the Department of English blog.

My name is Vicki Mahaffey and I took over as
head of the department on July 1, 2016. I'll be using this site to post updates and information of interest to our faculty, students, and alumni,
along with reflections about our discipline(s) in particular and the humanities in general. As anyone who has ever worked or studied here knows, the Department of English is a vibrant place. If you have something you'd like to see posted here, or if you want to contact me about the content of this blog, drop me an email at

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kevin T. Early Memorial Scholarship winners

One of my favorite parts of the seasonal business conducted in English is the process of awarding the annual Kevin T. Early Memorial Scholarship. This award is given each year to recognize and a talented Freshman poet, with the added purpose of helping to encourage talented young writers to continue pursuing their craft. What a wonderful thing that is. The award, established by William and Donna Early, honors the memory of their son, Kevin T. Early, who was himself a talented, dedicated, and award-winning young poet.

To apply, students submit a packet of their poems, which are then judged by faculty experts who do not see any identifying information and have only the quality of the poems themselves to go on. This year, as always, we received a lot of stellar application packets. In fact, our faculty judge wrote to me asking if we couldn't offer this scholarship to two winners this year since there seemed to be two exceptionally strong applicants who each deserved the award. As it happens, for this year, we were able to do just that.

I've now had the chance to meet with each of the scholarship winners, and I'm even more pleased with the decision our judge arrived at. They are both confident, interesting writers, they are both smart and engaging, and each of them has a clear-headed sense of what the craft of writing can be for.

I am very pleased, therefore, to congratulate Alli Gattari and Matt Stillwaugh as this year's winners of the Kevin T. Early Memorial Scholarship.

In case he reads this, I'd also like the thank William Early again for the enormous generosity of spirit that lies behind this particular award. And my deepest thanks, on behalf of our students, to all the other donors who made contributions to this fund this year in tribute to Donna Early as well as in memory of her son.

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