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University of Mississippi

UM Honors First Doctoral Recipient in English

Kenneth Holditch presents lecture at annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference


Kenneth Holditch speaking at the 2015 Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference.

Kenneth Holditch speaking at the 2015 Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference.

The University of Mississippi honored its first doctoral recipient in English, Kenneth Holditch, during his presentation at the 2015 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” to an enthusiastic audience at the 42nd annual conference. At the program, Jay Watson, 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.”

Ivo Kamps, 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. “We are equally pleased that Dr. Holditch will be on campus for the announcement later this week, and that he will be sharing his work during the annual Faulkner conference.”

Watson asserted the fittingness for Holditch to attend and present his lecture at this year’s conference.

“That the announcement of the award fund will come during the summer’s Faulkner conference is another 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