The Department of English recognizes some of its finest students annually with prizes, scholarships, and awards.
The Bongiorno Prize is awarded to a junior major for excellence in English.
The prize was established in 1967 in honor of the retirement of one of Oberlin’s most distinguished teachers and scholars, Professor Andrew Bongiorno.
Professor Bongiorno graduated from Oberlin magna cum laude in 1923 and received an MA from the college in 1924. He taught for a year at the University of Missouri before returning as an instructor in English in 1925. He received a PhD from Cornell University in 1935. Prof. Bongiorno taught at Oberlin for 42 years. He served as chair of the English department for nine years. His fields of scholarship were Milton, Dante, and literary criticism. Professor Bongiorno died in 1998.
- Oziah Wales, 2021
- Emory McCool, 2020
- Asher Wulfman, 2019
- Simon Beer, 2018
- Lucas Fortney, 2017
The Gage Prize, no longer being awarded, was given for excellence in writing, specifically “for attainment in prose and poetic composition.” The prize was established in 1944 by James B. Gage, in honor of his wife, Natalia Stone Gage, who attended Oberlin from 1929 to 1931.
The prize was last awarded in 1974 to Bruce Weigl.
The Meacham Prize is awarded to senior women English majors for distinction in English. The prize was established in 1924 by Mrs. Katherine Wright Haskell, in memory of her classmate, Mrs. Margaret Goodwin Meacham, Class of 1898.
- Sarah Dalgleish
- Alana Barrington Dye
- Priyanka Sen
- Gabrielle Shiner
- Chloe Ashford
- Lydia Moran
- Emma Eisenberg
- Mattea Koon
The Snell Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding woman sophomore or junior English major who plans to go on, after graduation, to pursue doctoral work in English/American literature, or in comparative literature. The Florence Snell Scholarship was established by the bequest of Dr. Florence May Snell, Class of 1893.
Florence Snell was an outstanding student at Oberlin. She studied at Oxford in 1904-05 and obtained an MA at the University of Good Hope in Africa in 1908. She received a PhD from Yale University in 1914, and was awarded an honorary Litt.D. by Oberlin. Much of her life was spent in Africa teaching English literature.
The scholarship normally is granted for three years—one year of study at Oberlin and two years at graduate school. Professor Snell’s original intention was that the award support four years of study: three years at Oberlin and one year of advanced study at Oxford University if that were the recipient's choice. The department decided to reduce the term to three years without any reduction in the amount of the stipend, and to make the award at the end of the junior year.
The spirit of the bequest continues to encourage and aid highly promising young women "who are contemplating teaching as a career, and particularly ... women who have a scholarly interest in English literature" (as then President Wilkins wrote to the Board of Trustees in 1937, establishing the scholarship).
A remarkable letter from Professor Snell to an imagined recipient of the scholarship was found in the college archives.
- Natina Gilbert, 2017
- Milena Williamson, 2016
- Allison Fulton, 2015
The Dudley B. Tenney English Literature Prize is awarded to a graduating senior English major, enrolled in the Honors Program, with the best academic record in mathematics and natural sciences. The prize was established in 1989 by a gift from an anonymous donor of the Oberlin College class of 1939, to honor Dudley Tenney.
- Jacqueline Steel, 2021
- Sarah Dalgleish, 2020
- Nora Cooper, 2017
- Allison Fulton, 2016