First English Ph.D. Recipient Honored

Kenneth Holditch lectures at Faulkner conference

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 9.09.08 AM The University of Mississippi honored its first doctoral recipient in English, Kenneth Holditch, during his presentation at this year’s Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.

Holditch, a professor emeritus of English at the University of New Orleans who earned his doctorate at UM in 1961, presented his lecture, “Growing Up in Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha Country.” He spoke to an enthusiastic audience in the Faulkner Room of the J.D. Williams Library during the 42nd annual conference.

At this program, Jay Watson, UM Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies and professor of English, announced the Holditch Scholars Award, which will be given annually to a graduate student in the Department of English.

“The creation of the Holditch Scholars Award is exciting news indeed for the English department,” Watson said. “This award will be an important source of support for deserving graduate students in our program, and a lovely way to honor the distinguished career of the man who received the very first Ph.D. granted in English at the University of Mississippi.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 9.09.17 AMIvo Kamps, UM chair of English, praised the efforts of Holditch and the university for the timely announcement.

“The English department is proud and pleased to recognize its first Ph.D. graduate, Dr. Holditch, with the creation of a graduate student award in his name,” Kamps said.

Watson noted how appropriate it was for Holditch to present his lecture at this year’s conference.

“That the announcement of the award fund came during this summer’s Faulkner conference was a wonderful bit of serendipity, since Professor Holditch pursued his Ph.D. studies at a time when Faulkner was still living in Oxford and since he went on to become an accomplished scholar of Faulkner’s works in his own right,” Watson said.

To contribute to the Holditch Scholars Award, contact Angela Barlow Brown, UM director of development for special projects, at 662-915-3181 or