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English Department
Pitt Poetry


The English Department sponsors different contests and recognizes students with prizes and awards. Please learn more about our department's awards:

A. Stuart Pitt Memorial Poetry Award

The Pitt Memorial Poetry competition is conducted under the auspices of the Academy of American Poets, which sponsors individual poetry contests at colleges across the nation. The competition at the Naval Academy was established in memory of Professor A. Stuart Pitt, the first chair of the Academy English Department and a member of the faculty for thirty-seven years before his death in 1978. First prize is $200 granted from the Academy of American Poets.

Bernard Smith Plebe Essay Prize

The English Department sponsors an annual contest for the best essay written for fall and spring semester plebe English courses. Each of two awardees receives $100 from an endowment given to the Naval Academy Writing Center in honor of Bernard E. Smith, Class of 1947.

John Wooten Prize

The English Department sponsors an annual essay contest for the student who writes the best essay in any of the gateway courses. The award was established in memory of Professor John Wooten, a longtime member of the faculty and devoted teacher. First prize is $200.

Michael Jasperson Playwriting Award

The English Department's Masqueraders sponsors an annual playwriting contest named for Professor Michael Jasperson, who directed the Masqueraders for twenty-five years and retired in 1992. Each winter, entries are solicited from the Brigade and judged by a panel of faculty and elected Masqueraders officers. First prize is $200, which comes from the Masqueraders and a generous endowment from Christopher Perrien.

Nancy Wicker Prize

The English Department sponsors a prize awarded to the honors English major who writes the best essay in a senior seminar course. The prize is named in honor of Professor Nancy Wicker, a longtime faculty member and is formally awarded at the HUM/SS Division Prizes and Awards Ceremony. The prize is $200 ($100 each from the Bernard Smith Fund and a separate endowment.)

Van Dyke Prize

This prize recognizes the graduating English major with the highest academic standing in those courses required to complete the major. The prize consists of a sword valued at $450.

Wilson L. Heflin Prize

The Wilson L. Heflin Prize for Leadership in the Humanities was established in 1984 to honor Professor Heflin, a noted Melville scholar and member of the faculty for forty years. The prize is awarded annually to the midshipman of any class and major who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in fostering humane studies at the Naval Academy during the preceding year. The prize consists of a collection of texts valued at $200 and a framed certificate.

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