Dr. Burton O. Kurth Scholarship for Excellence in English Honours

Dr. Erika Kurth is establishing this award in recognition of the significant contribution made to the Department of English at the University of Victoria by her husband, Dr. Burton O. Kurth. Dr. Erika Kurth holds an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from the University of Victoria.

Dr. Burton O. Kurth played a significant role in the University of Victoria’s early history as an English Renaissance scholar, Director of the Department of English Honours Program, Acting Chair of the English Department, member of the University Senate, and as a generous contributing citizen of the University community.

Dr. Kurth first distinguished himself at the University of British Columbia, graduating with a B.A. Honours English after writing the best graduating essay of his class. Later, on the strength of his scholarly performance at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his PhD. in English Renaissance studies, he was appointed to the English Department at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (USC). At USC he further distinguished himself as an English Renaissance scholar by publishing his internationally recognized Milton and Christian Heroism: Biblical Epic Themes and Forms in Seventeenth-Century England (University of California Press, 1959).

At USC, where he was nominated for a teaching award, Dr. Kurth contributed further by co-editing Writing From Experience (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1960), a collection of essays by various significant writers that was designed as a student writing guide.

Returning to British Columbia in 1961, he became actively involved as a Department of English member helping to develop and promote excellence at the emerging University of Victoria. As a scholar, he hosted an annual international meeting of the Philological Association of the Pacific Coast; and, as a supporter of the arts, he served as publicity director for Renaissance ’64-’65, a play festival at the Phoenix Theatre. But most noteworthy was his kindly, civil, rational, and temperate presence within the rapidly growing English Department, in particular as Director, the English Honours Program, a specialized degree that is nationally recognized for excellence and that has produced many top-flight students over the decades since its inception.

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