Emory Elliott Endowed Memorial Award Fund


English Dept D01018


Graduate or Undergraduate Student Support

History and Purpose:

Professor Emory Elliott, was a internationally recognized scholar of American literature and a University Professor in the UC system. Emory Elliott was University Professor in the most profound and encompassing way anyone could imagine, said Katherine Kinney, chair of the Department of English. He was a friend and mentor to so many on this campus and literally around the world. I think his vocation was simply to make a difference, whether by teaching the power of literature to undergraduates, ensuring that a junior faculty member had the contacts they needed to publish their book, by keeping our department moving forward intellectually, or sharing his committed and progressive understanding of American Studies to the world. Emory is literally irreplaceable.

A native of Baltimore, he lived until the age of 66. He came to UC Riverside in 1989 from Princeton University, where he was a professor for 17 years, including three years as chairman of the English department. He said at the time UCR provided what he needed: a growing, progressive place where he was valued for his wide-ranging and interdisciplinary interests.

In his 20 years at UCR, he was a productive scholar, an award-winning teacher and a leader in his academic field nationally and internationally. In 2001, the University of California named him a University Professor, which means he is a resource for the entire system. He is one of only 36 people in the UC system so honored.

He is most closely identified at UCR with the Center for Ideas and Society, a research center he directed with funding from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and other major foundations. He is known widely on campus because he brought together small groups of scholars from all disciplines to study for a quarter about a common theme, for instance the moral implications of genetic engineering or the place where technology intersects the humanities.

Steve Cullenberg, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, said that "Emory Elliott not only reached the highest heights of academic accomplishment at Princeton and at UCR, but he also changed the face of academia through his longstanding support of minority and women faculty." Cullenberg said. "There are no words that can express how terribly much we will miss him."

Elliott's interest in recruiting minority students and faculty, and his efforts to improve race relations in general, earned him the Rosemary S. J. Schraer Award for Humanitarian Service, named for a former UCR Chancellor. He also earned a distinguished teaching award from the UCR Academic Senate, the highest form of compliment from his colleagues. He was also one of the first recipients of the Academic Senate's Graduate Student Mentor Award.

"I like UCR's long tradition and pride in undergraduate teaching", Elliott once said. "That is very important to me. There is a readiness to accept challenge; to invest in the unfamiliar. There is a wonderful openness that you don't find in many long-established academic institutions. I think this makes it a very exciting place."

Chancellor Timothy P. White, who came to UCR in July, said even in a short time on campus "it was clear that Emory Elliott had it right about UCR, and was in turn a touchstone for this campus."
White said. "His teaching, creative activity and unselfish service as a UCR faculty member was extraordinary. He was internationally revered among his peers in academia, and he was a gifted teacher. In his 20 years with us, he broke the mold in countless ways, forever changing academia for the better. Emory will be sorely missed."

Elliott grew up in a working class family in Baltimore and started his career as a high school teacher before he worked his way through a Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois.

Among hundreds of honors and publications, Elliott edited a ground-breaking book, Columbia Literary History of the United States (1988), that won the American Book Award. He is also a recent past president of the American Studies Association.

He is the author of Power and the Pulpit in Puritan New England, published by Princeton University Press (1975), and Revolutionary Writers: Literature and Authority in the New Republic,published by Oxford University Press. He is Series Editor of The American Novel (Cambridge University Press) and Penn Studies in Contemporary American Fiction.

Elliott has been a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Council of Learned Studies, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center, as well as a fellow at the Institute for the Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He has taught in many parts of the world, including Paris, Brazil, Beijing, and Poland.

His wife, Georgia, is also part of the UCR family. She is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Development.

In honor of her husband's legacy, Georgia Elliott has established the Emory Elliott Endowed Memorial Award Fund. The purpose of the fund is to provide student support for both undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of English under the direction of the Department Chair; support the Emory Elliott Book Award under the direction of the Center for Ideas and Society, and support the Emory Elliott Award for Innovative or Significan Playwriting under the leadership of the Director of the Center for Dramatic Innovation in the Theater Department.

Selection and Guidelines:

Professor Emory Elliott Memorial Scholarship Fund will be used to 1.) provide student awards to English majors in their junior or senior year or graduate students as determined by the Chair of the English Department and/or his/her designee(s). The award may also be used to recognize notable essay writing as part of an English Department course. In this case, the award must be for exceptional work on American literature/culture; and 2.) honor the book published by a CHASS faculty member that, in the judgment of the selection committee, best exemplifiies the values associated with Professor Elliott's intellectual contributions. These are the capacity to recognize complexity together with the passion to clarify, the ability to contribute to a conversation rather than to summarize agreements already established, and the intent to further a tradition of creative and scholarly munificence; and 3.) provide a student award to a junior, senior or graduate student in the Theater Department or other relevant departments for innovative or significant work in the dramatic arts as determined by the Director of Center for Dramatic Innovations (with advice from Rickerby Hinds, when possible, if he is not serving as Director). If the Center ceases to exist, the Chair of the Theater Department and Rickerby Hinds, if available, will determine the recipient from the Theatre Department.

Effective 01/31/2020 - This fund shall be used to:

1. Provide support for one undergraduate and one graduate student studying American Literature/culture in the Department of English, as selected by a department committee und the direction of the Department chair; and

2. Support the Emory Elliott Book Award for College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences(CHASS) faculty, as selected ty a committee under the direction of the Director of the Center for Ideas and Society; and

3. Provide support for one undergraduate or one graduate student in the Department of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production, as selected by a department committee under direction of the Department Chair.

Request for Information: