Gardner-Webb University Alumnus Named Recipient of Prestigious Grant

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Author Ron Rash Among 173 Scholars, Artists, and Scientists Honored as Guggenheim Fellows

photo of Ron RashBOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – An award-winning author with ties to Gardner-Webb University and Boiling Springs, N.C., is being honored for demonstrating exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Poet, novelist, and Gardner-Webb University alumnus Ron Rash has been named a Guggenheim Fellow for 2017. Guggenheim Fellowships are grants awarded to selected individuals with the purpose of providing Fellows with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible. The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation receives approximately 3,000 applications for the program each year, and awards approximately 175 fellowships. Recipients receive grants of $50,000 to support their work.

Since 1994, Rash, a native of Boiling Springs, N.C., has had numerous novels, short stories, and collections of poetry selected for various awards. Rash was a winner of the Fellowship of Southern Writers’ James Still Award and a former finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. His short story collection “Burning Bright” won him the Frank O’Conner Short Story Award, the world’s richest prize for the short story form. His novel, “Serena,” received rave reviews in the New York Times and was adapted into a motion picture starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in 2014. His latest novel, “The Risen,” was released last September.

Rash was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Gardner-Webb University in 2009. He received a B.A. in English from GWU, and a M.A. in English from Clemson University in South Carolina. Rash currently serves as Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies, at Western Carolina University (Cullowhee, N.C.) where he teaches creative writing and Appalachian literature.

Established in 1925 by former United States Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim, in memory of 17-year-old John Simon Guggenheim, the elder of their two sons, who died April 26, 1922, the Foundation has sought from its inception to “add to the educational, literary, artistic, and scientific power of this country, and also to provide for the cause of better international understanding,” as the Senator explained in his initial Letter of Gift on March 26, 1925.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Ignite your future at