Middlebury College Announces Recipients of the 21st Annual Paul W. Ward ‘25 Memorial Prize in Writing for First-Year Students — Two Students Also Receive Honorable Mention

The 21st annual Paul W. Ward ‘25 Memorial Prize in Writing for first-year students at Middlebury College was awarded this year to first-place winner Kpoene’ P. Kofi-Bruce of Alexandria, Va., for her essay “On Beauty and Self-Contempt.” The $500 prize is presented annually to the first-year student whose writing best exemplifies, in the words of the bequest, “The use of basic English as the writer’s most necessary tool: precise and exact usage of words, exact meanings, phrases expressed lucidly and gracefully.”

Kofi-Bruce wrote her paper, which explored themes of racism in Toni Morrison’s book “The Bluest Eye,” for instructor Karl Lindholm’s American literature course “African-American Narrative.”

This year there were second and third prize winners, each of whom received $250. Samantha Severin of Flushing, N.Y., won the second prize for her paper “Breaks Above.” Andrew F. Hickok of Manchester, N.H., received the third prize for his paper “A War to Commemorate.”

The Paul W. Ward ‘25 Memorial Prize was established by Ward’s widow, Dorothy Cate Ward ‘28, in 1978. Ward, who won a Pulitzer Prize and received the French Legion of Honor, enjoyed a life-long career as a journalist and diplomatic reporter. The award is sponsored by Tom and Marren Meehan of Bethesda, Md. Mrs. Meehan is the daughter of Dorothy Cate Ward.

As she welcomed those present at the awards ceremony, Kathleen Skubikowski of the English department noted that she was impressed with the range of interests the students’ writing represented. “It’s especially gratifying,” she said, “because when Middlebury College committed itself to requiring writing in courses throughout the curriculum, and not only in English courses, we committed ourselves to an idea about the place of writing in a liberal arts education.”

Receiving honorable mention for the Ward Memorial Prize in Writing were Eric B. Skovsted of Boulder, Colo., for his paper “The Poet’s Discovery,” and Mar Yam G. Hamedani of Clifton Park, N.Y., for her paper “Humans: Mind or Body?”