Frostburg State University English professor Dr. Barbara Hurd has been awarded the Wilson H. Elkins Professorship from the University System of Maryland. This is another accolade in a series of honors for Hurd, including critical acclaim and a place on the Los Angeles Times' Best Books of 2001 list for her book of essays, Stirring the Mud: Swamps, Bogs and Human Imagination,
as well as being awarded a $20,000 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The $80,000 that the Elkins Professorship will provide will allow Hurd more time to complete the research, writing and revision of her next book, Three Sources of Light, a collection of essays involving caves, and to complete a proposal for another book, tentatively titled The Wrack Line, named for the line of debris left on a beach after the tide goes out.
As a requirement of the Elkins award, Hurd will present three lectures at FSU during the year of her professorship. She is planning one in the fall on the art of the essay, a second in the spring in conjunction with Dance Alloy from Pittsburgh, which is creating a dance based on her Stirring the Mud essays, and a reading from Three Sources of Light, which is due to be published in 2003.
Hurd said the idea to try for the Professorship came from FSU President Catherine R. Gira. When Gira learned about it, she encouraged Hurd to write a proposal.
"I think it's a tribute to Catherine and the University's increasing support of the arts," Hurd said. "It's very gratifying. It really is."
The Wilson H. Elkins Professorship was established in 1978 as the first permanently endowed, university-wide professorship at the University of Maryland. The professorship is named in honor of Dr. Wilson H. Elkins, a former Rhodes scholar who led the University of Maryland to new levels of distinction as its president from 1954 to 1978. Under Elkins' leadership, the university grew notably in size, scope, and standing.
When the new University System of Maryland began in 1988, Elkins agreed that his professorship should extend to the entire USM family, of which FSU is a member.
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