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Dr. Celia Catlett Prize

CeliaThe Dr. Celia Catlett Prize in English at Eastern Connecticut State University (Eastern) was established in July 2019 by Celia’s daughter, Katherine Anderson, with an initial gift of $5,000.

Dr. Celia Catlett taught in Eastern's English Department from 1972 until her retirement in 2001. For ten of those years she was the Writing Director for the University.

"Being Writing Director was a challenging but rewarding job,” said Catlett.  “My two mandates when I was appointed to this position were to set up a method for assessing the writing skills of incoming first-year students and to establish writing across the curriculum.  My overall goal was to create a writing culture at Eastern.” 

“I strongly hold that being able to write in a thoughtful and coherent way (whether in science, technology, business, or the arts) is one of the prime skills higher education can foster in students."

True to this principle, Dr. Catlett insisted that the first-year student placement testing include a sample of student writing done on site.  The program she developed for writing across the curriculum included two requirements beyond first-year student writing:  a 200-level requirement in each department and a capstone writing project in the senior year to demonstrate that students could write effectively in their chosen discipline.  The program encouraged students to take a professional attitude about writing.

Dr. Catlett earned her BA (Magna cum Laude) from Saint Louis University, an MA from the University of Connecticut, and a PhD from the University of Rhode Island in literature and stylistics.  She was awarded two NEH grants and was a Mellon Fellow at Yale, working with the writing director to learn about the program there.

The $500 prize will be awarded annually to the best Capstone project by a senior English major, whether he/she graduates in the Spring or mid-year, via a nomination processIf the Capstone project program is discontinued, the prize will go to the best essay by a senior English major.