Student Poets, Authors, and Artists Compete for Dr. Jean Minto Fellowship Award

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In Fall 2014, Dr. Brian Toews, along with the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, created and formally hosted a poetry competition. Following the success of the contest, Dr. Jean Minto and Dr. Timothy Hui added a short story competition in the spring semester. Over time, the two competitions merged, blossoming into an annual contest where students can submit poetry, short stories, and as of 2022, two-dimensional art.

Last spring, Professor Charlotte Gleason announced the annual competition would be renamed “The Dr. Jean Minto Fellowship Award.” Dr. Minto, who passed away in 2020, was a beloved Cairn professor in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. For almost 30 years, she devotedly taught literature and liberal arts courses. The University named the award after her in order to honor her love for the written word and dedication to her students amidst the trials of cancer. Her life and the opening lines of Psalm 121 inspired the prompt for the year: “Suffering and Solace: From Where Does My Help Come?” Through a creative nonfiction piece, poem, or a work of art, students could reflect on perseverance through suffering as a mark of the Christian life. As a founder of the writing competition, Dr. Minto and her heart to encourage students’ creativity were clearly displayed through the message of this year’s challenge.

In March 2022, contestants gathered in the Connie A. Eastburn Gallery. Art pieces were displayed, and students read aloud their submissions to fellow peers and professors. Short-story author Abbey Wahger (“Ever-Moving Feet”), poet Isabelle Lazor (“Steady Arms”), and artist Chara Fitch (“Thou Art with Me”) were chosen as the recipients of the Dr. Minto Fellowship Award.