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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

New endowment will provide creative writing scholarship

The Sherwood Anderson family has donated an endowment of $600,000 to Guilford College to support emerging creative writers at Guilford.

Sherwood Anderson was a 20th-century American novelist best known for his novel “Winesburg, Ohio.” The endowment comes from his estate, which has been passed down through his family.

“Some of the Sherwood Anderson family members are Guilford alumni, and they approached the college saying, ‘If we were to offer an endowment, what would Guilford do with that money?’” said Mylène Dressler, assistant professor of English. “We began designing something that we thought would not only be appealing to the family but would be wonderful for the college as well.”

As of spring 2015, Guilford will offer creative writing scholarships of $3,500 each to four students. However, these students do not have to be English majors.

“The Anderson family was very interested in the idea that creativity happens all over the place on campus,” said Dressler. “We, ultimately, agreed, so we wanted to make the scholarships available to anyone showing promise and commitment in the area of creative writing.”

Students will be asked to provide 20 pages of their creative work, not limited by genre or style, and an essay that explains why they have applied and what they hope to accomplish.

“The number one problem we have here at Guilford is that students do not having enough money to make it possible for them to attend the college,” said English Professor Jim Hood. “Any way that we can provide more support for students is fabulous, and I think it’s particularly fabulous to have the opportunity to support students who are interested in creative writing. It will be a shot in the arm to the creative writing program and could be a great recruitment tool.”

The Anderson endowment also allows for the English department to bring an established writer to campus to speak, not only to grant winners but to the Guilford community.

“We’re really making the stand that creative writing matters, and that Guilford believes that it matters,” said senior Mary Heisey, English major and student representative in talks with the Anderson family.

“We have the infrastructure for this because we have amazing teachers, and we have a really nurturing college that’s dedicated to writing, but we really needed more in terms of creative writing.”

Students like senior and creative writer James Trout already show support for this program.

“It sounds like a good idea, and I know a lot of people who do creative writing on their own time,” said Trout. “It’s a good way to get more money to students who might need it and who have the talent to represent the creative people of Guilford.”

Amanda Libby, junior and English major, supported the timing of the scholarship.

“I’ve heard about scholarships for people who are leaving college so they have money to do their creative work when they’re struggling to find jobs, but it’s nice that the scholarship is offered during college so you can do more with the money,” said Libby.

The endowment also allows the department to consider introducing a creative writing major.

“One reason we’re so excited about this endowment is that Guilford is a creative place, but maybe we haven’t always had the funding to really showcase and support that in our students,” said Dressler. “The timing is perfect, not just in the sense that Guilford needs more money but needs a way to make it more Guilford. We are really very grateful to the Sherwood Anderson family for their generosity in this regard.”

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