Dr. Gary A. Stringer and Dr. Jeff Johnson

2011 ECU Whichard Professor Awarded $240,000 NEH Grant

Dr. Gary A. Stringer, professor and scholar of English Renaissance Literature and the 2011 David Julian and Virginia Suther Whichard Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at East Carolina University, has received a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The $240,000 award from the NEH Division of Research Programs includes an additional $30,000 in federal matching funds for Stringer’s project, “An Edition of John Donne’s Songs and Sonnets and a Further Expansion of DigitalDonne.”

According to Stringer, this is the tenth grant since 1986 that the NEH has awarded to support the volume of work, “Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne.” During the three-year period of the grant, Stringer and the Variorum staff will work on the three-part volume of Donne’s “Songs and Sonnets,” hoping to publish two of the three volumes during the grant period; and they will work on an expansion of the project’s web site DigitalDonne, the Online Variorum, at http://donnevariorum.tamu.edu.

“I, of course, am very pleased to have received this award. It testifies to the confidence in what we’re doing shared by the agency and by our peers in the profession who reviewed the application, especially since it’s the tenth in a series of such awards that we’ve received. I think all of us in the Variorum project are gratified by that kind of validation,” said Stringer.

“From the reactions I’ve seen, I think this grant is appreciated in many quarters within the university, which I’m told has not had a long history of receiving NEH grants. We hope this won’t be the last NEH award that the Variorum project will receive at ECU; and, who knows, maybe it’ll start a broader trend within the college.”

Stringer, whose most recent appointment was research professor of English at Texas A&M University, joins the ECU faculty for the 2011-12 academic year as the David Julian and Virginia Suther Whichard Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, housed within the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, and as a visiting professor in the Department of English. The Whichard Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities is an endowed professorship made possible through a generous donation by the Whichard family in honor of David Julian and Virginia Suther Whichard of Greenville.

“Endowment of the Whichard Professorship is a wonderful act of generosity on the part of the Whichard family and a tremendous boon to the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. I’m honored beyond words to have been selected to hold the appointment for this term,” said Stringer. “The resources of the professorship will enable me to carry out several aspects of my Donne research that would otherwise not be possible—or not so easily possible—and I am finding myself able to use some of those resources to support initiatives proposed by colleagues I’ve met since coming to ECU. To the extent possible, I’m hoping to use the resources of the Whichard Professorship for the general good of the English department.”

As part of the Whichard Professorship, Stringer will teach one course each semester in the ECU Department of English. This fall, he is teaching a graduate-level course on the satirical writings of John Donne. In the spring, he will teach a graduate-level course related to digital humanities.

Stringer received his Ph.D., M.A. and B.A. degrees in English from the University of Oklahoma. During his nearly 50-year academic career, he has held faculty appointments at the University of Oklahoma; Oklahoma State University; Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA; the University of Southern Mississippi; and most recently, Texas A&M University. 

Stringer is the founding general editor of the “Variorum,” an 11-volume work drawing on the collaborative labors of nearly 40 American, Canadian, British, Dutch, South African and Japanese scholars. He has authored or edited 12 volumes, including four volumes of the “Variorum,” and he has published more than three dozen articles within his field of study. In addition, Stringer has presented nearly 50 papers at professional meetings and conferences in the U.S. and abroad.

Among his many accomplishments, Stringer has received faculty service awards and research grants from many of the institutions where he has taught. Also, since 1986, Stringer has been the recipient of grants totaling more than $1.5 million from the NEH.

For additional information, contact Stringer at stringerg@ecu.edu.