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Department of Religious Studies


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Elizabeth Dodge Clarke Book Award

This award is presented each spring at the Awards Day ceremonies, to a Religious Studies senior selected by the faculty for strength of academic work, interest in service, and commitment to humanitarian values.

"Mark of Recognition"

This award for excellence is given to a Religious Studies major selected by the faculty from graduating seniors each year. A book of the student’s choice is given to an outstanding undergraduate senior on Awards Day in the Spring each year. Students do not apply for this award. The recipient is nominated and selected by the Religious Studies faculty considering a broad set of criteria that looks not only at the students’ grades but their full development across several measures of growth and maturity over their time of study.

The criteria on which the faculty make their nominations are:

  1. Work of distinction in courses offered by the department
  2. Distinction in the conception and execution of a senior thesis
  3. Evidence of commitment to humanitarian and religious values transcending parochial boundaries
  4. Demonstrated interest in a career of service.

The Elizabeth Dodge Clarke Award was instituted in 1976 by Kevin Lewis who was professor of Religious Studies and Culture with the department from 1974 until his retirement in 2015. Plaques with the names of the annual recipients hang in the Religious Studies offices in Rutledge.

In his letter to the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation, Dr. Lewis said that “as a memorial to Aunt Elizabeth and as a spur to the students majoring in Religious Studies at the University of South Carolina, I would like to establish an annual book prize bearing her name.”

He went on to say,

"Before she died, Aunt Elizabeth told me that she would like to contribute to a fund, the annual interest of which would be used to award a prize book or books to a senior or seniors graduating in Religious Studies from this university. This department, in which I have taught happily for three years presently has no such extra incentive and mark of recognition to offer its growing number of students."