Lee News

Woolfitt Receives Lee’s Excellence in Scholarship Award

Dr. William Woolfitt has been named the recipient of Lee University’s 2020 Excellence in Scholarship Award. President Paul Conn made this announcement during a virtual faculty and staff meeting last month.

“Dr. Woolfitt is a writer of faith, a deeply caring mentor for young writers, and a recognized author who is raising the bar in Lee’s writing program,” said Dr. Donna Summerlin, professor and chair of Lee’s Department of Language and Literature. “He is well deserving of this award.”

Woolfitt joined the Lee faculty in 2012 and serves as an associate professor of creative writing. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in American literature and his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Arts in English from Hollins University, and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Fairmont State College.
Woolfitt Receives Award
Dr. William Woolfitt

Woolfitt is the author of three books of poetry: “Beauty Strip,” winner of the Texas Review Breakthrough poetry contest; “Charles of the Desert,” a biographical sequence about Charles de Foucauld, a French hermit-missionary to Algeria; and “Spring Up Everlasting.” His fiction chapbook, “The Boy with Fire in His Mouth,” won first place in the Epiphany Editions contest judged by Darin Strauss. He also had two stories published in “The Best Small Fictions 2017.”

He has individually published hundreds of poems and short stories in such respected journals as The Baltimore Review, African American Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Western Humanities Review, The Christian Century, and the North American Review, among others.

“Not only is Will prolific in publishing his own work, but he encourages scholarship and publication among his students,” said Summerlin. “Each semester he mentors his writing students through the process of submitting and publishing their own work, and a significant number have succeeded in publishing poetry, short fiction, and reviews as a result of his support and encouragement.

Woolfitt has received the Howard Nemerov Scholarship from the Sewanee Writer’s Conference and two Denny C. Plattner Awards from Appalachian Heritage and has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize, one of the most prestigious American prizes given to writers who publish in small presses. He also maintains Speaking of Marvels, a blog that features interviews with poets and prose writers.

Woolfitt is the faculty sponsor for Lee’s literary journal, Lee Review, and serves on the board for the university’s annual Writer’s Festival.

The Excellence in Scholarship Award is one of three faculty excellence awards recognizing teaching, scholarship, and advising. They are considered the highest honors bestowed on Lee faculty each year.

Public recognition for the Faculty Excellence Awards traditionally takes place during May graduation exercises, but because these events were postponed to August, the award was formally announced by Conn in the first employee meeting following the traditional graduation weekend.
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