Students graduating from college face an uncertain future, a shaky economic climate, and an average of $26,500 in debt. So Washington College senior Tim Marcin, who graduates from the small Eastern Shore college this spring, is probably pretty happy that his school just wrote him a check for $61,192, his winnings from one of the largest college-awarded prizes in the country.
The annual Sophie Kerr literary prize is awarded to the graduating senior with “the most ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor.” Its namesake was an Eastern Shore native who penned a few dozen books in the first half of the 20th century, all of which are out of print. When she died in 1965, she left her estate to Washington College with the stipulation that half its income would be awarded as a literary prize each year; since then, the college has given out more than $1.4 million. The award varies a bit each year, since it’s tied to the return on the endowment; in 2009, its best year, a student was awarded nearly $69,000.
To put that amount in perspective: Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners get $10,000. Our congratulations go out to Marcin, a 22 year-old aspiring sports journalist from Wilmington, Delaware.