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Dorr Award

The Ron Dorr Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Writing

Established in 2002, the Ron Dorr Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Writing is awarded annually in recognition of the best academic essay, autobiographical narrative, or piece of creative writing submitted by a James Madison College student.  The award is named in honor of Professor Ron Dorr, whose vision, dedication, and passion for teaching have immeasurably enriched the College. 

Professor Dorr’s founding vision of a first-year writing program focused on the human dimensions of public affairs has insured that, from their first semester on campus, James Madison students are encouraged to “take serious books seriously,” gaining an appreciation for the richness and complexity of the human experience by engaging with significant texts from the humanities. 

Dorr’s dedication to fostering his students’ analytical abilities has contributed to the College’s reputation for graduating students skilled at conveying complex ideas clearly, in writing and in speech.  His own passion for ideas and model of self-reflection have helped his students develop the habits of mind essential to a liberal education.  His sponsorship of the Madison “Madhouses” has enabled countless students to share their literary and musical talents, enhancing the sense of community that is vital to a residential college.

Dorr’s commitment to educating the whole student--in the classroom, in his office hours, and at evening Madhouses--embodies the College’s primary mission of excellence in undergraduate teaching.  The Dorr Award acknowledges the central place of writing in the Madison curriculum, and honors Ron Dorr’s outstanding contributions to the Madison community.