Cap & Gown Photos:
Front row: Scott Wiley, Jessie Latimer, Elaine Brown, Donna Bearden
Back row: Sarah Syverson, Althea Hughes, Sara Register, Randy Howard
Largest Group Photo:
Front row: Althea Hughes, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Donna Bearden, Sara Register, Jessie Latimer, John Williams
Back row: Sarah Syverson, Donna Little, Randy Howard, Elaine Brown, Bill Walsh, Scott Wilkerson
Reinhardt University is proud of eight Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing students who graduated last week. Donna Bearden, Elaine Brown, Randy Howard, Althea Hughes, Jessie Latimer, Sara Register, Sarah Syverson, and Scott Wylie received their diplomas and turned their tassels at a commencement ceremony on June 24th.
These Etowah Valley Writers’ Institute graduate students spent two years working one-on-one with published and award-winning writers each semester in a specific genre. The last two weeks of the program are a summer residency on the Waleska campus. Each was immersed in writing workshops and publicly presented their best work at evening readings, leading up to the commencement ceremony and presentation of diplomas.
Donna Bearden won the Faculty Choice Award in Excellence, and Randy Howard second place, for their individual contributions to their craft and adhering to the highest level of creative writing in their class. The Dr. Robert Driscoll Awards honor writing pertaining to the Etowah Valley and about nature. They were awarded to Sara Register for Excellence in Writing, Sarah Syverson for Special Interest, and Ted Grosch for Service in Nature.
Professor and Director of the MFA Program Bill Walsh said, “The MFA Class of 2023 is the richest assemblage of talent we’ve had to date. Each year, the graduates surprise us with a level of professionalism that eclipses the previous class. For the mentors, we love it! Especially when students obtain book contracts and find an agent, which is happening in the program.”
Award-winning Irish poet Annemarie Ni Churreáin was the featured commencement speaker. Churreáin was also the visiting writer in residence, each day bringing a level of worldly knowledge to the students. Another highlight of the residency was when two graduates, Dawn Major (’19) and Andrew Winkelmann (’22) returned to give a reading from their newly published novels.
Reinhardt is the only higher education institution in Georgia offering a low-residency MFA in Creative Writing. The 60-hour program offers classes in poetry, fiction, creative-nonfiction/memoir, and scriptwriting.