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2021-2022 Call for Nominations


In 2016-2017, an anonymous donor created a gift fund with explicit instructions to give an award of $20,000 to one outstanding graduating PhD student from one of the following departments: Anthropology, Communication, History, Linguistics, Literature, Philosophy, and Sociology. We have been fortunate that this award has continued to be sponsored by the same donor each year since then. We are thrilled to let you know that the donor has again gifted $20,000 so we could recognize another outstanding student this year. The donor requested that the prize be awarded "during that student’s final faculty meeting." The award must be a surprise, that is, the student must have no idea in advance that they are going to receive this gift. The award may be used "at the discretion of the recipient for education or personal expenses." The student is to be nominated by the faculty in the student’s department and selected by the Graduate Division, and the award is to be administered by the Dean of the Graduate Division. The fellowship recipient will be asked to write a thank you letter to the donor. 


  • We ask for nominations for this award "on the basis of academic merit and demonstrated perseverance to overcome personal hardship – financial or otherwise."
  • In order to be nominated, a student must have completed the dissertation defense during the 2021-2022 academic year (that is, students who have already defended during the 2021-2022 academic year or who will have defended by June 10, 2022, are eligible).

  • For purposes of this award, we have chosen to interpret the phrase "during that student’s final faculty meeting" as referring to (a) the dissertation defense if it is a relatively private event; (b) the student’s final meeting with the faculty advisor before the student moves on to the next stage in their career; or (c) a special meeting convened for this express purpose (without, of course, the student’s knowledge of this purpose) after the student has successfully defended the dissertation.
  • We recognize that the presentation of this year’s award might have to be done virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Each eligible department (Anthropology, Communication, History, Linguistics, Literature, Philosophy, and Sociology) is welcome to submit as many nominations as they see fit.

  • The nomination package should include:

    • Student nominee’s updated CV

    • A letter from the faculty advisor (and endorsed/signed by the Department Chair/Vice Chair) describing the academic merit of the nominee’s work as well as how the student has overcome personal hardship.

  • If a department makes multiple nominations, we welcome a confidential and optional rank-ordering of the nominees within the form to help us in the final selection process. 
  • Please submit all nomination materials as a single .pdf file via this Google Form by Wednesday, May 18th. The deadline has been extended to Wednesday, May 25th.

If you have any questions please send an email to which will create a support ticket.


Wednesday, May 18, 2022 The deadline has been extended to Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

Past Recipients

2021: Amy Kennemore, Anthropology

2020:  Monika Sengul-Jones, Communication

2019:  Theodora Dryer, History

2018:  Alina R. Mendez, History

2017:  Jennifer M. Nations, Sociology

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