The Sigurd H. Peterson Scholarship

The Peterson scholarship endowment was established in 1999 by Dr. Walter Henry Ott and his wife, Maxine, in honor of her father, Sigurd H. Petersen, who was a faculty member at the OSU for 43 years and who chaired the English Department from 1922-54. During his career, Professor Peterson headed the Freshman Writing Program and established courses in business writing and English for Engineers. He taught the Bible as Literature as well as courses on Icelandic and Norse myth, which was his area of scholarly expertise. He founded Oregon State College’s premier literary magazine, The Lamplighter, the tradition of which continues in our own Prism student art journal. In 1949, Peterson took a chance and hired an unknown novelist out of Brooklyn New York named Bernard Malamud, and the rest, as it is said, is history—a history you can read for yourself in the writer’s OSU Roman a Clef, A New Life. As professor and then chair, Sigurd Peterson always put students first and worked as an advisor and organizer of extra-curricular activities even after he retired to the Oregon Coast. He died there in 1963.

The Otts’ generous initial gift of over half a million dollars remains to this day the largest single donation to School of Writing, Literature, and Film from a private donor toward student support.

The Bernard Malamud Scholarship

The Malamud Scholarship was established by OSU in 1986 with full support of the author’s wife Ann and his two children, Paul and Janna. The fund honors Malamud’s memory and distinguished career as a fiction writer, which began here at OSU in the 1950’s. The parameters of the award  acknowledge Malamud’s time at OSU with these words: “Bernard Malamud was one of the finest contemporary fiction writers and developed his reputation while teaching at OSU. During his career at the University he wrote and published The Natural, The Assistant, The Magic Barrel, and A New Life, all examples of the brilliant writing which earned him a Pulitzer Prize and two National Book Awards.”

The award was originally created to fund promising incoming First-year students, but at the request of Peter Betjemann, present Director of SWLF, it was altered in 2010 to go to resident majors. This year, however, we have decided to return the scholarship to its original role as an award for incoming First-year students. This scholarship now provides a one-time $3,500 award toward First-year tuition.

The Mary Holaday Murray Scholarship in English

The Murray Scholarship was established in 1991 by Mary Murray who was an English major at OSU.

The scholarship provides amounts varying from $1,000 to 2,000 dollars toward tuition for a sophomore, junior, or senior major on the basis of their extraordinary academic promise measured in part by a 3.5 or better GPA in the major. Because this fund has earned extremely well over the past few years, we were happy to offer this scholarship to no less than six recipients in 2019.

The Raleigh Clare Dickinson Scholarship in English

The Dickinson Scholarship was established in 1991 with an initial gift from Robert and Marjorie Clark in the name of Mrs. Clark’s father, Raleigh Clare Dickinson. A veteran of World War I, he served in the first submarine division of the US Navy, and during World War II was a supervisor for the building of mobile radar trailers for the US Army.  In 1948, he accepted a position at Oregon State College. 

At the time of their initial donation, the Clarks tendered a challenge-match request to the Chevron Corporation, which that organization honored. Having been increased in award amount at the request of the donors, this award now also provides $1,000 toward tuition for a sophomore, junior or senior major on the basis of their extraordinary academic performance.

The Irwin C. Harris Legacy Scholarship Fund

This award, our most recently established scholarship, was made possible by alumni and members of the family of Irwin C. Harris. At Oregon State, Professor Harris was a professor of journalism, Director of Student Activities, and Director of Student Publications and Public Events. He also advised the Daily Barometer newspaper and Beaver yearbook.  His efforts earned him the Outstanding College Newspaper Advisor in the U.S. award in 1967.  Following his retirement from Oregon State in 1981, Harris wrote and published a book on the history of the Memorial Union at OSU.

The recipient of the Harris award must be minoring in our applied journalism program, or in writing or film. The scholarship is in part based on a selection from the student’s portfolio of work in any of these minors, and awards $1,000 toward tuition to a sophomore, junior or senior major.

Are you interested in supporting more of our talented SWLF students as they pursue their dreams of an English or Creative Writing major?  If so, please visit the OSU Foundation Page and make a gift to the "English Department Unrestricted Fund" or the "English Scholarship & Awards" fund! Your tax-deductible gift--whether it be large or small--will play a transformative role in our talented students' education. We thank you for your interest in helping them to realize their dreams.