Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

Scholarships, Awards, and Prizes

Due to generous donors, the Department of English offers several funded scholarships, awards, and essay prizes for undergraduate students on a competitive basis. When relevant, interested students should consult the eligibility rules and guidelines of an individual opportunity before submitting an application.

Patrick J. Casey Scholarship

The Patrick J. Casey Scholarship provides scholarship assistance to one or more students enrolled at the University's College of Arts and Sciences. Preference will be given to students who declare English as a major course of study and who demonstrate financial need, as determined by the University.

Deadline: Applications are due January 15.

History: The Patrick J. Casey Scholarship Fund was established in honor of Dr. Casey, who was a member of the English department for forty-five years and served as Dean of the Rome Center from 1966-72. His field was Irish literature, and he possessed the ability to make the great writers of his native country come alive for his students. In recognition of his outstanding teaching and service, he was named Professor Emeritus when he retired in 1992. 

In the words of a former student, “Yeats and Joyce were his gods, I recall his saying at his retirement party. What he brought to us—those of us that listened closely—was a demonstration of what was so valuable in these writers’ lives and works: that is, their connection to humanity, to the daily lives of regular people.”

Another wrote, “I still remember the passion and intensity he put into rendering the meaning and purpose of those writers of his land of origin. He was truly a man of literature and a man of deep feeling, characteristics which made him a very good teacher and a truly wonderful person.” 

He was also a valued colleague, as the following comment indicates: “I can say truly that I knew no one in any department of the university who communicated the joy of his profession, who cared for his students and colleagues and who loved his home country more than Patrick. His warm smile, his friendliness, his humility and his intelligence were extraordinary qualities that all of us who had the honor and pleasure of knowing him will remember.”

The McNeill/Donohue Scholarship

Dr. Agnes Donohue's brother, Donald T. ("Don") McNeill, was a well-known and much loved radio personality in Chicago. His "Breakfast Club" program is still fondly remembered by a great many Chicagoans. When Mr. McNeill died in the 1990s, his will included a generous bequest to establish undergraduate scholarships in English jointly in his name and in Dr. Donohue's. The department currently awards two scholarships each year to English majors in their sophomore or junior years at Loyola on the basis of their high grades and potential for future scholarship in the discipline.

History: Born and raised in Sheboygan, WI, Professor Agnes Donohue (1917-2003) was one of many nationally recognized scholars trained in Loyola's Department of English. She attended Rosary College in River Forest, Ill., and earned an M.A. at the University of Wisconsin before coming to Loyola for her doctoral work. She completed her doctorate in 1954 and took teaching positions both at the University of Illinois (during its years on Navy Pier) and at Barat College, where she rose to become professor and chairman of the English department. During those years (as later) Dr. Donohue's scholarly work focused heavily on Hawthorne, and she published a collection of essays, The Hawthorne Question (Crowell) in 1963. More generally, Professor Donohue was interested in all facets of American literature, which she taught regularly, and in 1968, she edited for publication a collection of essays under the title A Casebook on The Grapes of Wrath (Crowell, 1968).

In 1967, Professor Donohue returned to Loyola as a professor in the English department, where, since American literature had become a popular field for aspiring students, she directed many doctoral dissertations. A second book on Hawthorne, Hawthorne: Calvin's Ironic Stepchild was published by Kent State University Press in 1985 as the result of her continued work on this, her favorite author.

Dr. Donohue retired from teaching in 1988 and died in 2003.

Martin J. Svaglic Award

 In Dr. Svaglic's memory, the department awards a prize annually to a School of Continuing and Professional Studies (returning or non-traditional) student who has excelled in his or her English studies. Graduating seniors are nominated by members of the faculty.

History: Many of Professor Martin Svaglic's students and colleagues remember him as the consummate gentleman. Besides being a fair assessment of his character, it is also fitting because Dr. Svaglic's copious scholarship focused heavily on John Henry Cardinal Newman, a man well known for exemplifying gentlemanly behavior.

Professor Svaglic (1916-1998) was very closely connected to the Chicago scene, both academically and personally. He took his BA (1938) and his MA (1940) from Loyola University Chicago and completed his doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1949. He began teaching at Loyola in 1938, quickly emerging as one of two very distinguished scholars in the English department at a time when scholarship was of less importance, and heavy teaching loads were more common. His distinguished colleague in those years was Fr. Edward L. Surtz, S.J.

Dr. Svaglic was a stately professor with the mild sense of humor, whose lectures were mesmerizing for their logical and factual fascination. He taught Victorian literature for 45 years, while publishing substantially in the most prestigious periodicals, including Victorian Studies, PMLA, Modern Philology and Fiction Studies. He is particularly known for his work on the Oxford Movement and was considered an authority on the lives of those intellectuals who converted to Catholicism during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His specialization in the works and on the life of Cardinal Newman resulted in an edition of Newman's Idea of a University (Rinehart & Co., 1960) and of the Apologia pro Vita Sua (Oxford, 1967).

On his death, Dr. Svaglic left an extremely generous bequest to Loyola. Some of that money now funds undergraduate scholarships in the humanities and is administered by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. A separate endowment supports various programs in the English department that he loved so dearly and served so well: public programming, undergraduate prizes and faculty research support grants.

John Gerrietts Award

The Gerrietts Prize is given each year to a graduating senior who has excelled as a creative writer (specializing either in fiction or in poetry). Members of the faculty nominate students for this award, which is presented at the Spring Honors Convocation.

History: It would be difficult to find another faculty member whose life was as firmly tied to Loyola University Chicago as that of Professor John Gerrietts (1913-1992). Aside from long driving vacations, which he enjoyed taking with his colleague Martin Svaglic, he devoted himself almost entirely to his academic career.

In a significant sense, that career spanned and reflected the period during which the university grew from a small Jesuit college into a large and complex institution. He received his B.A. in 1934 and his M.A. in 1937, both from Loyola, but his studies were then interrupted by service in World War II. He returned to Loyola for his doctorate which he completed in 1953.

His dissertation title shows the range of his literary interests: "A Study of the Imaginative Qualities of Poetry from the works of Milton and Coleridge." (His examination board, incidentally, included Professors George Engelhardt and Patrick Casey, two faculty members who were later to see him appointed as their department chairman!)

He was hired as a Loyola faculty member in 1957 and taught a wide range of courses, eventually specializing in American literature. He became chairman of the department in 1958 during a period when the department enjoyed its greatest growth—while also experiencing its most dramatic changes. Between 1958 and 1973 he oversaw the institution of tenure, the reduction of teaching loads from the standard of five courses (per semester!) to four and then down to three. He also established the tradition of hiring by committee and organized the move of the department's offices from a humble quanset hut with a corrugated steel roof to more dignified quarters in the (then newly built) Damen Hall.

Professor Gerrietts was, in spite of the tremendous changes through which he guided the Department, a quiet, unassuming man, largely unaware of how thoroughly he deserved the department's thanks for his careful stewardship of its interests and its resources.

James Charles Cox Memorial Award

In Mr. Cox's memory, his widow Dorothy Cox—herself a Mundelein alumna and long-serving Loyola librarian—generously endowed an undergraduate prize to be awarded each year to an English major who achieves the highest level of excellence in English studies while also demonstrating leadership skills and high moral character. The awardee receives a substantial cash prize.

History: Though not a member of the English department, James Charles Cox (1927-1987) served its interests in many ways throughout his tenure as the director of the Loyola University Chicago libraries from 1957 to 1971.

Mr. Cox took his undergraduate degree in English literature from Loyola in 1950 after serving with the United States Navy from 1945 to 1946. (He remained in the U.S. Naval Reserve and saw service again in Japan from 1950 to 1952.) He earned his Master in Library Science degree at Rosary College in 1956.

James Cox was well known to the members of the English department, regularly attending its meetings. In the library, he was a hands on director, spending less time in his office than he did on the floors and in the stacks.

Over the course of his career, he witnessed tremendous expansions in the school's services and significant increases in the the libraries' storage capacities. He was also active in professional organizations for librarians and was president of the Catholic Library Association for a number of years.

Charles W. Hart Prize

The Hart Prize was established by Dr. Hart's colleagues in the English department immediately after his death. It is given each year to a graduating senior who has excelled as a student of literature. Members of the faculty nominate students for this award, which is presented at the Spring Honors Convocation.

History: Dr. Charles ("Charlie") Hart (1937-1977) is still recalled by many of the Loyola faculty members who had the privilege to know him as a genial administrator with a striking sense of humor, mordant wit and a convivial disposition. His sudden, premature death in 1977 shocked all in the university.

Having earned his undergraduate degree here in 1960, Dr. Hart came back to Loyola upon completion of his doctorate at Columbia University in 1967. He was hired as an assistant professor and taught Victorian literature.

Dr. Hart's term as an Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences took him to the Water Tower Campus. In that role, he took special care to resolve individual students' problems and earned their loyalty and affection in return.

For relaxation, Dr. Hart enjoyed listening to opera and reading novels—though only those by British authors!

Anastasia S. Kondrasheva Essay Prize

The Department of English at Loyola University Chicago is pleased to announce the inaugural Anastasia S. Kondrasheva Essay Prize. This yearly prize will be awarded to the most outstanding essay by a Loyola student on the topic of immigration.

Submission Details: The essay must be at least 1,800 words and it must have been previously submitted for credit in a Loyola course during the Summer of 2018, Fall of 2018, January of 2019, or Spring of 2019 terms. Applicants are welcome to submit personal essays, essays on literature or history, or essays that take other disciplinary approaches. Submissions should be sent to Dr. Jeffrey Glover at jglover@luc.edu. Include a word count as well as the course number and instructor of the course for which the essay was originally submitted. The winner will receive a $100 prize.

Deadline: May 1, 2019.

History: Anastasia Kondrasheva was a 2015 graduate of Loyola University Chicago. Born in Moscow, Russia, Anastasia immigrated to the United States with her family. A Russian and an American, Anastasia was multilingual, a vegan and defender of animal rights, a world traveler, and a cherished member of the Loyola community. The Anastasia S. Kondrasheva Essay Prize honors her for the many connections she created between people and cultures.​ 

Previous Winners:

2018: "Benjamin R. Grey, "Libel, Monarchy, and Liberty: Milwaukee Poles Negotiating Citizenship at the Turn of the Twentieth Century."

2017: Mia LaRocca, "Diagnosis, Undocumented: Examining Sociocultural Interactions Between Healthcare Providers and Undocumented Patients in Chicago, Illinois​."

Sharon Walsh Essay Contest

This student essay contest was established in honor of Dr. Sharon Walsh, a much-valued and long-time Writing Instructor in the Writing Program and English Department here at Loyola. 

Eligibility: Students eligible to submit to the contest must complete UCWR 110 during the 2018–2019 academic year. All essay submissions must be written for a UCWR 110 course and nominated by the instructor of that course.

Deadlines: Nominated essays written during Fall Semester must be received by 5:00 p.m., Monday, February 25, 2019. Nominated essays written during Spring Semester must be received by Monday, April 8, 2019. When submitting an essay, please include the following:

  • Name, title of essay, UCWR 110 section, semester course was taken, name of instructor, contact email address, and home mailing address.
  • Submissions should be formatted in Word and include an MLA Works Cited page (if applicable). Please send all submissions to Professor Julie Fiorelli at jfiorelli@luc.edu with “Sharon Walsh Essay Submission” in the subject line.
  • Fill out, sign and attach a copy of the Essay Release Form along with your submission.
  • Submissions will be judged by members of the Writing Program faculty.
1st Place - $100 2nd Place - $75 3rd Place - $50

History: As a teacher Sharon maintained the highest standards, requiring that all of her students do their best possible work. She was devoted to helping her students write well and spent many hours with them in individual conferences. In addition, she conceived and for fifteen years directed the "Shared Text Project," in which students came together through shared readings and activities such as symposia and panels related to the common text.

Dr. Walsh published and distributed a collection of student essays each semester to highlight effective and engaging student writing. Sharon published three Casebooks in Argument (with Evelyn D. Asch) for composition courses with Wadsworth: Just War (2003), Civil Disobedience (2004) and Immigration (2004).

To continue her legacy of writing pedagogy and scholarship, the essay award was generously created by friends, colleagues, and family, in memory of Dr. Walsh's intellectual contributions and dedication to her students. 

 The Fr. Edward L. Surtz, S.J., Prize

The Surtz Prize is given each year to a graduating senior who has excelled as a student and scholar of English literature. It is regarded as the premier prize awarded to undergraduates by the department. Members of the faculty nominate students for this award, which is presented at the Spring Honors Convocation.

History: The Surtz Prize, along with the The Edward L. Surtz, S.J. Lecture in the Humanities, was established in honor of Father Edward L. Surtz, S.J. At a time when Loyola's English department focused primarily on teaching, while scholarship was neither expected nor particularly rewarded, Fr. Surtz devoted himself to research and writing for its own rewards. As a researcher and as a teacher, he impressed everyone with his strictness, both with himself and with his students. His love of learning and his commitment to the pastoral duties of a priest characterized almost everything he did.