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2015 Denny Prize event featured faculty and surprises

L to R: Anne Denny, Mary Kerrigan Denny, Denny Prize winner Dawn Quigley and Charles Denny.
L to R: Anne Denny, Mary Kerrigan Denny, Denny Prize winner Dawn Quigley and Charles Denny.
Photo by Julie Michener.

The St. Catherine community celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Denny Prize for Excellence in Writing — the most important of the University's writing awards Tuesday afternoon.

University Board of Trustees, University leadership and members of the faculty and friends enjoyed the hospitality in the Coeur de Catherine atrium — made even more welcoming with boards featuring quotes from past Denny Prize winners' works.

The Denny family — Charles, his brother James and sister, Mary - established the prize to honor their mother, Eleanor McCahill, a 1926 graduate of St. Catherine. An English major who credited her professors for her abiding love for books, for words and for excellent writing, Eleanor imparted those passions to her children and grandchildren.

Charles Denny, a St. Catherine Trustee Emeritus and former Board Chair, his daughter Anne Denny, and sister, Mary Denny Kerrigan, were on hand for the celebration that recognized past honorees and featured readings from this year's winners.

The Dennys and Colleen Hegranes.

EVP/Provost Colleen Hegranes (right) presented Charles Denny and his daughter, Anne, with a special edition collection of Denny Prize-winning works. Photo: Julie Michener.

A special presentation to the Denny family was a highlight of the afternoon's event. St. Catherine University President Andrea Lee, IHM, and Executive Vice-President/Provost Colleen Hegranes presented the Denny family with a leather-bound collection of Denny Prize winning essays, poetry and associated works.

The collection was the brainchild of English Professor Cecilia Konchar Farr, who contributed resources and her time as the Sister Mona Riley Endowed Chair of the Humanities to create it. Professor Emerita of Philosophy William Meyer collaborated with Farr on the design.

2015 Denny Prize winners

The Denny Prize for non-fiction went to Margret McCue-Enser, assistant professor of communication studies, for her essay, Ada Deer and the Menominee Restoration: Congressional Testimony as a Site of Power and Resistance.

The Denny Prize winner of the creative award was from Dawn Quigley, assistant professor of education, for her collection of poetry, We are All Connected.

An Honorable Mention for Nonfiction was presented to Karen Guth, assistant professor of theology, for her essay, Doing Justice to the Complex Legacy of John Howard Yoder.

In presenting the awards, Assistant Vice-President and Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, Alan Silva, noted that both winners' work featured Native American culture and history as their subjects.

"Although working in different genres, each writer seeks and confidently expresses the indigenous voice that resists external definition," said Silva.

More about the Denny Prize

School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences Associate Dean Bonnie LaDuca coordinated and facilitated the Denny Prize — from soliciting entries to coordinating the judges' schedules and ensuring a smooth process from start to finish.

Two writers and scholars from the Twin Cities served as judges for the 2015 prize, Ranae Hanson, who teaches writing, women's studies and global studies at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and Garvin Davenport, retired professor and dean from Hamline University.

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May 6, 2015 by Julie Michener

See also: Alumnae/i, Faculty, Liberal Arts