Wofford headstone on lawn

Katherine Howell '17

Katherine Howell

For Katherine Howell ’17, an English and government double major from Greenville, SC, plans for life after Wofford have evolved significantly since she stepped foot on campus as a first-year student. Says Howell, “I began my college career with the goal of attending law school and entering the public sector as an administrative lawyer; I now intend to study either English literature or creative writing on the postgraduate level, with the hopes of someday becoming a college professor or an editor at a publishing company.”

Why the change of heart? It all started in a classroom of Main Building the fall of Howell’s junior year during Professor George Singleton’s creative writing workshop. Initially terrified to share her short story with her classmates, Howell was surprised by the positive reception that followed her first workshop, which encouraged her to further develop the story. What began as a ten-page assignment evolved into a nearly three-hundred-page novel that the senior has worked on across two semesters and a summer research project. Says Howell, “I probably would have never pursued creative writing had it not been for the encouragement of professors like George and Dr. Deno Trakas. They have devoted so much time and effort to my novel, listening to my frustrated rants about struggles with progressing the plot, offering suggestions about grammar and character development, guiding me through the creative process with unceasing patience and support. Their experience as writers makes their advice all the more valuable to me.”

The Edwin C. and Mary Neal Kirkland Endowed Scholarship made this career-altering experience possible for Howell. The Edwin C. and Mary Neal Kirkland Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 1993 with a bequest from the estate of Mary Neal Kirkland Johns. The fund honors the memory of Mrs. Johns and her first husband, Dr. Edwin C. Kirkland, a 1922 Wofford graduate who was an English scholar and a member of the faculty of the University of Tennessee and the University of Florida prior to his death in 1972. Preference in making awards from this fund goes to students who major in English.

Howell’s gratitude is evident. “Because of this gift, I have gained experience and awareness as a liberal arts student, discovered my vocation, and made lifelong connections that will stay with me beyond graduation,” she says.