Hitchcock Graduate Award
The Award for Excellence in Bert Hitchcock’s name is an official recognition by his students of his own excellence as a mentor and a scholar. This permanent endowment is established in the Auburn University Foundation by Regina Ammon and Kelly Gerald for the purpose of providing graduate awards for students in the Arts and Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts.
2017 Recipient: Alex Colvin
Alex Colvin is a PhD candidate concentrating on early American history, with a focus on the history of Creek Indians. She received her BA from Samford University and her MA from Auburn University. Her dissertation will focus on the extended matrilineal family of Alexander McGillivray, especially the women, and how they organized property and ultimately redefined their views of kinship, gender, and race within the context of the slaveholding South in the nineteenth century. While at Auburn, she was a research assistant for a project sponsored by the National Park Service, which involved creating maps relating to land loss by Indian tribes through the removal era, and is currently serving as a content specialist for the Alabama Bicentennial Master Teacher Program. She has presented her research at the annual meeting for the American Society of Ethnohistory and the Alabama Department of Archives and History. She was the recipient of the Friends of the Alabama Archives Student Fellowship in 2014 and has twice won recognition from the Colonial Dames for outstanding research relating to colonial history.
2016 Recipient: Matthew Sparacio
Matthew Sparacio is a PhD student concentrating on early American history. His minor fields include modern American and Early Modern European history. Matthew earned a BA and MA from Virginia Tech. He is currently working with Dr. Kathryn Braund and researching the Choctaw Indians in the mid-eighteenth century and dynamism of the southern frontier before the Seven Years' War. He was recently awarded a Robert L. Middlekauff Fellowship with the Huntington Library to aid his dissertation research. Matthew has presented research at the Southern Conference of British Studies, the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, as well as at graduate conferences hosted by Central Michigan University and Florida State University.
2015 Recipient: Lydia E. Ferguson
Lydia Ferguson is a PhD candidate in the Auburn University English Department, where she researches 19th Century American Literature and Cultural Studies. She earned her BA in English from Ball State University and her MA in Literature from Clemson University. Her research focuses on performances and representations of cultural identity, and her dissertation examines the roles and representations of aged, elder(ly) slaves in the popular culture and literature of 19th Century America.
Walter Bertram “Bert” Hitchcock, Jr. is a southern gentlemen and scholar. Originally from Demopolis, Alabama, Bert enjoyed a childhood spend in the rural out-of-doors, and his days spent hunting, fishing and playing baseball provided him with stores he offered to appreciative listeners for all his life. Bert was also the son of the Demopolis City Schools superintendent “Bully” Hitchcock, and upon graduating from high school in 1959, he enrolled at Auburn University in pre-law.
By the time he left Auburn, Bert had turned his attention to the study of American literature. He earned graduate degrees from the University of Oregon and Duke University (PhD, 1971). He also attended the University of Melbourne in Australia. In 1966, Bert returned to Auburn University as the Assistant Director of Admissions and as an instructor in English; he became a full-time member of the English Department faculty in 1971 and served for many years as Chairman of Freshman English and then as Department Head (1977-1990). He regularly taught classes ranging from freshman English to doctoral courses; his area of interest is nineteenth-century American literature and Southern literature.
His contributions to the study of American literature include the American Short Stories he edited for decades and his entries and essays on American writers for a number of established reference books including the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Reference Guide to American Literature, and Contemporary Fiction Writers of the South. Dr. Hitchcock’s passion for the literary South is evidenced in the many books he published on the region and its writers, among them De Remnant Truth, Down the River, The Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi, and Chinaberries and Crows.
The Award for Excellence in Bert Hitchcock’s name is an official recognition by his students of his own excellence as a mentor and a scholar. His passion for the South is infectious, his work compelling, and his stories funny and unforgettable.
Last Updated: September 13, 2017