Alex Moore, a junior double major in English and philosophy from Gulfport, Mississippi, was named the first recipient of the Johnny and Susan Wink Scholarship from Ouachita Baptist University. He was recognized at a ceremony in April at Ouachita’s Young Auditorium.
“He was a student of mine in several classes,” said Dr. Johnny Wink, Betty Burton Peck English teacher and namesake of the award with his wife, the late Dr. Susan Wink, Emeritus Professor of English. “He’s a splendid guy and a brilliant student. I am delighted that he is the first recipient of this scholarship.
Moore is also a member of the Carl Goodson Honors Program and has been named to the Ouachita President’s List several times.
“I was incredibly happy to find out that I was the first recipient of the Wink Fellowship, since Dr. Wink is from Gulfport, Mississippi, just like me, and he and the whole Bugtruck mean a lot to me,” Moore said. , referring to the suite in Lile Hall which houses the offices of the Faculty of Language and Literature. “I love to write and analyze literature critically, and the Ouachita English program has helped me deepen my skills in these areas.”
The ceremony also honored the careers of Johnny and Susan Wink; together they served in Ouachita for over 80 years.
“The Winks represent the best about Ouachita: kind, wise, and brilliant teachers who challenge and nurture students,” said Dr. Doug Sonheim, Professor Emeritus of English and ancient Clarence and Bennie Sue Anthony Chair of Bible and Humanities at Ouachita. “The purpose of the scholarship is to help and honor students of language and literature, students who pay attention to the words we use, who pay attention to how we order our words into meaningful sentences, saying the truth through stories about what it means to be a human being. More than ever, we need true and beautiful stories, don’t we?
Sonheim, who previously served as the department’s director, began working on plans for the scholarship in 2013 and launched a fundraiser in 2017, so the event was the culmination of many years of work. Current students, English alumni, family and friends were on hand to recognize the Winks and Moore.
English teachers read original works to honor the Winks. Sarah Smith, assistant professor of English, read “Savoir et Connaître” and Dr. Jay Curlin, professor of English Kathryn Maddox, read “The University of Wink”. Jennifer Pittman, chair of the Department of Language and Literature and director of the Speer Writing Center in Ouachita, presented the scholarship to Moore.
“In terms of selecting the characteristics of the winner, we found it easy: simply, the winner must emulate Johnny and Susan and engage in lifelong learning,” Pittman said. “What wasn’t so easy, however, was selecting from the number of outstanding students we have in the department. Alex, however, stood out among the contenders. He’s a double major in English and philosophy, having been on the president’s list every semester he’s been at Ouachita. A seasoned consultant for two years at the Speer Writing Center, he knows, as a colleague once remarked, “where to put the commas.” In short, he is a great reader, a superb thinker and an elegant writer.
Guests were also invited to return for a follow-up event later in the evening featuring readings by Ouachita alumni Greg Brownderville and Eli Cranor.
Brownderville is an associate professor of English, director of creative writing, and editor of the literary magazine “Southwest Review” at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of three collections of poetry: “Deep Down in the Delta”, “Gust” and “A Horse with Holes In It”.
A former football coach and high school English teacher, Cranor writes a national sports column called “Athletic Support.” His fictional essays were published in “Oxford American”. Cranor is the author of the children’s novel “Books Make Brainz Taste Bad” and published his first adult fiction novel, “Don’t Know Tough,” in March.
For more information about the Wink Fellowship or the Department of Language and Literature, contact Jennifer Pittman at [email protected] or 870-245-5553.
Main photo: Alex Moore (left), a junior double major in English and philosophy from Gulfport, Miss., was named the first winner of the Johnny and Susan Wink Scholarship from Ouachita. The award is named after longtime Ouachita faculty members Dr. Johnny Wink (right), Betty Burton Peck Professor of English, and his wife, the late Dr. Susan Wink, Professor Emeritus of English. Photo by Coleman Callan