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Writing Awards

The Augustinian and Culture Seminar Program, as the first-year writing course, seeks to honor outstanding writing submitted by students in their Ancients 1000 (Spring contest) and Moderns 1001 (Fall contest).  

Application instructions:

  • Applicant must be a currently enrolled registered Villanova University student.
  • Submissions will be accepted in electronic format only.
  • Submissions should be a Microsoft word document.
  • One submission per student, per category permitted.
  • Applicant's name SHOULD NOT APPEAR anywhere on the manuscript (committee review is anonymous).
  • All citations must be correct and complete.
  • Complete all sections of the application, upload your essay, which was written in the Fall 2021 semester and click submit     


Submission deadline is the third Friday in February 2022 @ 5:00 PM



Award Categories 


This award recognizes the best student writing in ACS Ancients and Moderns.  The ACS Program serves as the first-year foundational writing class, for which students create a portfolio of their best work.  Sister Margaret Cecilia Baney, a former Dean of Immaculata University, was a professor of English who encouraged students to excel in their writing.  She was a fixture at the early awards ceremonies and delighted in celebrating student writing

The counterpart to the MCB Award, the Seamus Heaney Award recognizes the best student essays written for Honors sections of ACS.  Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, is best known for his collection Death of a Naturalist and for his translation of Beowulf.  Mr. Heaney was a great friend to Villanova's Irish Studies Program and was at one point a visiting scholar.

As ACS values highly, the gift of creativily expressing the ideas at work in the core texts, this award honors student writing that does not fit the analytcal or research model.  Dr. Earl Bader, who recently retired from the English Department at Villanova, served as the chair of the ACSP Writing Awards committee from the inception of the contest until Spring 2018.  His encouragement of student originality of thought and expression has permitted creative efforts in the program to flourish.

As the ACS Program is built on the writing of St. Augustine, this award recognizes the best student essay on the great saint and his thinking.  Father Russell served as the chair of the Philosophy Department at what was then Villanova College from 1975 to 1967, establishing the first graduate program in Philosophy and the annual "Saint Augustine Lecture."  In 1967 Father Russell was appointed Director of the Augustinian Institute at Villanova University and soon after became the founder and general editor of a new annual journal devoted exclusively to Augustinian studies, the first of its kind in the English language.

In the Moderns course, ACS stresses the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, reaching back to St. Augustine as a foundation for discussion on evolving thought.  This award honors the essay written in a Moderns class that best articulates a continuing conversation on Augustinian themes.  Flannery O'Conner, the American 20th century author, is best known for her haunting themes of grace, faith and transformation in such works as "A Good Man is Hard to Find."