Alumni Funded Programs and Prizes
Undergraduate Prizes and Scholarships
English Opportunity Scholarships
Started by the English Department Advisory Board, these scholarships support our students with financial need.
Betty Steinbugler Award
Established in 1930 in honor of Betty Steinbugler by her father. The purpose is to provide a prize for the best essay written by a female student in her junior or senior year.
The Charles Peters Award
Established in memory of Dr. Charles A. Peters, Class of 1897, the Peters prize is for the best essay on Renaissance literature. It is designed to encourage and aid students with high academic standing (in the undergraduate and graduate level) who are specializing in Shakespeare or his contemporaries in the Elizabethan Period.
W. Scott Jeffery Award
This award was established to honor Scott Jeffery's deeply appreciated and irreplaceable contribution to the English Department's Professional Writing Program. An award in his name is made each year to a University of Massachusetts Amherst undergraduate matriculating in the professional writing program.
General John A. and Evangeline W. Maginnis Scholarships
Established John A. Maginnis (Class of 1918), the fund was started to support undergraduates majoring in English.
Mary McGarry Morris and Margaret McGarry Chiriaco Scholarship
The Mary McGarry Morris and Margaret McGarry Chiriaco Scholarship Fund in English was established by their family in honor of Mary’s accomplishments as a writer and, further, to honor Mary’s mother, Margaret McGarry Chiriaco. Margaret, a single mother, was also a voracious reader and an amateur poet. She instilled in Mary and her brothers (John ‘65, William, and David), a lifelong love of literature and fine writing.
The wife of Michael (Class of 1963), and mother to Sarah (Class of 1985), and Amy (Class of 1998), Mary Margaret, Michael Jr., and Melissa, Mary’s celebrated success is a grand consequence of her mother’s spirit, determination and love. In honoring Margaret and Mary, it is their family’s hope that this scholarship will be used to help advance the art of creative writing in the hearts and souls of its recipients at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The purpose of the Fund will be to award financial assistance on an annual basis to English majors matriculating at the University. The award will be based on financial need and academic merit; with preference given whenever possible, to single mothers who have demonstrated an aptitude and a love for creative writing.
Ernest H. Hofer Oxford Summer Seminar Scholarship Fund
This fund was started by alumni of the Oxford Summer Seminar to honor seminar founder, Ernest Hofer, who passed away in 2008. Professor Hofer started the Seminar in 1966. He directed it for 27 years and built it into one of the most well-known and strongest study abroad programs at Oxford University. Money from the fund goes directly to support students with a minimum 3.0 GPA and who may not otherwise have the financial resources to participate in the Oxford Summer Seminar Program.
Fringe Festival Fund
For ongoing support of the department’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival Program. Money goes to student aid and operating costs.
Graduate Prizes and Scholarships
The LeeAnne Smith White Essay Prize in English
The LeeAnne Smith Fund supports an annual prize to a graduate student in the department of English for an essay on a topic that falls within the broad area of American cultural and literary studies. Any fruitful topic on American culture may be addressed, but essays touching on LeeAnne’s own interests—literature, music, and the visual arts, as well as place, landscape, the environment, and issues of identity—are especially welcome.
LeeAnne S. White was a teaching associate in the English Department's Writing Program. She died Oct. 5, 2001. She served the University for nearly five years as a full-time employee until 1995, before entering graduate studies in the English Department. An avid traveler, she had spent a substantial amount of time in India and Europe and had been in Morocco with a Centre College study abroad program. She loved music, art, nature, and reading fiction and personal essays.
The essay is judged by a faculty selection committee from the English department as the best written of the submissions for the year.
Sidney Kaplan Memorial Fund
The purpose of this fund is to provide support for an annual lecture given by a scholar of American Studies. These lectures together celebrate and extend the wide-ranging and boundary-challenging aspects of the English department’s program—American studies, ethnic studies, race and gender studies, post-colonial studies—that are such an important part of Sidney Kaplan’s legacy.
Sidney Kaplan taught at the University of Massachusetts from 1949 until his retirement in 1978. He was a member of the English department and an adjunct member of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American studies. This Fund was started by Kaplan’s former students and colleagues.
MFA Prizes and Scholarships
Deborah Slosberg Memorial Awards for Fiction and Poetry
Established in memory of Deborah Slosberg, by her mother, to provide one or more yearly prizes to Master of Fine Arts (MFA) students in the Program for Poets and Writers. The MFA Scholarship Committee will judge eligible students whose work over their entire career in the Program demonstrates substantial and worthy achievement.
Daniel and Merry Glosband MFA Fellowship in English/Poetry
This fund help support and recognize students in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers who show of exceptional merit and promise. The Fund will support a fellowship for a student enrolled in the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Master of Fine Arts Program, in English/Poetry. The recipient will be selected by a committee established by the Dean in cooperation with the Chair of the English Department and the Director of the MFA Program.