Richard Guy Wilson Prize Winner 2017

Claire Eager + Matthew Scarnaty

Inaugural Richard Guy Wilson Prize Goes to English Ph.D. Alumna

Claire Eager, who earned a Ph.D. in English from UVA in 2017, is the first recipient of the Richard Guy Wilson Prize for Excellence in the Study of Buildings, Landscapes and Places.

The $5,000 annual prize – named in honor of Wilson, Commonwealth Professor in Architectural History at UVA’s School of Architecture – provides students, both undergraduate and graduate, with an opportunity to examine and reflect upon the value of place and the diverse ways through which we all contribute to the shaping of the built and natural environment.

The prize encourages students from any discipline at UVA to participate; submissions include, but are not limited to, writing, design, poetry, painting, legal/business briefs, scholarly research and essays, film, and photography.

One of Wilson’s former students, Mallory Walker, an alumnus of the College of Arts & Sciences, endowed the prize in Wilson’s honor with a $100,000 gift.

A panel of faculty judges awarded Eager the inaugural honor for “Complicit Paradise: Invasive Species and Collaborative Design in Donne and Bedford’s Twick(e)n(h)am,” a chapter from her dissertation.

“It is an honor to receive the first Richard Guy Wilson Prize,” Eager said. “It will allow me to continue my ongoing field research investigating how the sensory effects of paradisal settings in texts accord with the physical experiences of extant and restored period gardens in the U.K. and elsewhere.”

Eager, now an assistant professor on the general faculty in UVA’s Department of English, received the award in December at a dinner hosted by Dean of the Library John Unsworth and his wife, Maggie, in Pavilion II on the Lawn.

Matthew Scarnaty, who received master’s degrees in architecture and landscape architecture in 2017, was awarded an honorable mention for his submission, a cultural landscape analysis of the history of local food production in downtown Charlottesville, incorporating diverse sources – oral history, cartographic interpretation and contemporary diagrams – to reveal unexpected insights into Charlottesville’s socio-ecological history.

Submissions for the annual prize are reviewed by a rotating panel of UVA faculty members from various disciplines. Last year’s reviewers included faculty from creative writing, American studies, landscape architecture and architectural history.

Entries for the 2018 Richard Guy Wilson Prize are due in May.