New Prizes for Undergraduate Research in the Rose Library

Dr. Ron Schuchard

The opening this fall of the newly renovated Rose Library is accompanied by newly announced prizes for original undergraduate research and writing in all areas of its collections of primary archival materials in the areas of African American history and culture, literature and poetry, Emory University archives, modern politics and southern history, and rare books.

For over 35 years Emory undergraduates have been encouraged to experience the intellectual awe, joy, and rewards of original archival research; for the past five years undergraduates have been the Rose Library’s top users. Since the inauguration this year of Emory’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), “The Nature of Evidence,” more and more faculty are bringing undergraduate classes for instruction and hands-on experience, with many students returning independently to research and write course papers and honors theses. Archival veterans who have gone into graduate programs send testimony that their archival research made them more competitive and successful in competing for awards, including Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, and institutional fellowships.

The prizes will be awarded through the generosity of the Betsy and Wayne Rackoff Fund.  Dr. Wayne Rackoff (75C), vice president of clinical oncology at Janssen Research & Development (a Johnson & Johnson company), was among the first generation of Emory students in English courses to have access to primary materials in what was then known as “Special Collections.”  The experience made a lasting imprint on his intellectual life and led him to become a long-time supporter of the archival collections. “We wanted to do something meaningful enough to attract students to a place that’s unique to Emory,” Rackoff says. “I hope these prizes will encourage students who might not have used the archives before to discover the value of this resource.” The Rackoff prizes are complemented by the recent establishment of the Currey Seminar, which supports Emory students in honors programs who are planning to conduct original research in the Rose Library and other archival repositories.

The fund will create two new prizes with four awards for Emory undergraduates each academic year. The Schuchard Prize, named in honor of Dr. Rackoff’s archival mentor, Ronald Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor Emeritus of English, will award $1000 for the best paper written on the basis of primary source material submitted for a class offered by the Department of English and $500 for an honorable mention. The prizes may also be awarded for alternative projects, such as the curating and mounting of exhibitions based on archival materials in the Rose Library.

The Alan Rackoff Prize, named in honor of Dr. Rackoff’s late brother, an Emory student in the class of 1973, will award $1000 each academic year for the best paper written on the basis of primary source material submitted for a class in any other academic department, with $500 for an honorable mention.


Emory University faculty may nominate current undergraduate students in good standing. However, the Schuchard Prize for Undergraduate Research is limited to research papers and exhibitions created for classes offered by the Department of English only.

How to apply

For this cycle, faculty may nominate up to 3 original research projects completed for course credit during the 2015 academic year (January 2015-December 2015). A research project and a letter of recommendation from the nominating faculty member are required. Please visit the Rose Library site on the “Awards and Research Programs” page for information and to apply via Submittable after November 1, 2015:

For more information please contact Christeene Alcosiba, Assistant Program Director of the Rose Library at christeene [dot] alcosiba [at] emory [dot] edu.

Research projects may include:

  • Original research papers
  • An original physical or digital exhibition


All application materials must be submitted via the Rose Library award site no later than 5 p.m. on December 1, 2015.