February 28, 2021

Honoring a Master

Privately funded faculty award for English professors recognizes the value of extraordinary teaching.

Donald E. Glover as pictured in the 1971 edition of The Battlefield.

Donald E. Glover as pictured in the 1971 edition of The Battlefield.

In 1971, the average cost of a postage stamp was 8 cents; Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida; and Intel released its first microprocessor. In Fredericksburg, Virginia, a Mary Washington English professor made an indelible impression on a member of the Class of 1971.

Fifty years later, that alumna has fully funded a new faculty award to honor the memory of Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English Donald E. Glover. During his tenure, Dr. Glover was a widely respected and beloved member of the faculty. He began teaching at Mary Washington in 1961 and served as department chair from 1970-73. Glover retired in 1998 after 37 years of service; he passed away in August of 2020.

While the donor still wishes to remain anonymous, she first alerted the University in 2018 of her intentions as defined in her estate plans. She then requested that Glover be informed so he would know how important his teaching had been to her during those formative years at Mary Washington.

Dr. Gary Richards, professor and chair of the Department of English and Linguistics, met with Glover in 2018 to share news of this faculty award, as well as the future creation of a named endowed scholarship.

In 2018, Dr. Gary Richards (left) met Dr. Donald E. Glover (right) and shared news of two special gifts from a former English student.

In 2018, Dr. Gary Richards (left) met Dr. Donald E. Glover (right) and shared news of two special gifts from a former English student.

“Don was long retired when I became Chair,” says Richards, “but this award brought me in contact with him and his lovely wife, Alice. Even though he was already struggling with his health then, I got a glimpse of the professor who made such an impact on our donor. I am delighted that Don Glover is being honored in this way.”

The donor recalls that Glover was light on lectures, yet strategically led his students to understand and appreciate works of literature by asking questions to stimulate critical thinking and discussion. She says students learned for themselves as they came to realize the full meaning and importance of what they had read. She decided to go ahead and fund this award now in the hope that English faculty can follow in Glover’s footsteps, while having a positive and lasting impact on students’ lives.

Richards says the award’s focus on teaching acknowledges Glover’s long and distinguished career at Mary Washington. “This award documents the life-impacting teaching that professors in our department have been doing for decades,” says Richards. “It also documents the generosity of this alumna, who so carefully looked backwards to her experiences at UMW and forward to other students’ experiences.”

While the department is fine-tuning details for the application and evaluation process, Richards stresses the value of this new faculty award for an outstanding professor of English. “This is in perfect keeping with UMW’s focus on undergraduate teaching and stands to buoy faculty who are exerting such winning energies in this arena,” he says. “And, as I hope we all know, affirmed and energized professors carry that excitement into the classroom, which in turn energizes students.”

Details for applying for the new Donald E. Glover Faculty Award will be available soon.

For information about establishing estate gifts or funding endowed awards and scholarships, contact the Office of Advancement at advance@umw.edu or 540-846-0470. UMW honors requests for anonymity.