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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 7, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 33
Junior Receives Prestigious Beinecke Scholarship for PhD in Liberal Arts

Patrick Kennedy
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

By Amy Lunday

Patrick Kennedy, a junior from Watchung, N.J., has won a prestigious Beinecke Scholarship, which defrays the cost of a doctoral education in one of the traditional liberal arts, with an emphasis on the humanities. He is one of 20 students nationwide to be selected this year for the $32,000 award.

After completing his triple major in the Writing Seminars, English and History of Art at Johns Hopkins, Kennedy intends to use his Beinecke Scholarship to pursue graduate studies in English and the history of art, a path that he says will strike a balance between research and a broad-based humanistic discipline. Kennedy said he hopes to earn concurrent degrees, completing a doctorate in American literature while preparing for a second thesis in artistic criticism.

"In a deep sense, my award is a credit to the Hopkins faculty who encouraged me to foster my interests at the most rigorous level possible," Kennedy said. "From the middle of my freshman year, I have engaged in independent liberal arts research. Along the way, close contact with professors such as John Irwin and Jean McGarry of the Writing Seminars enabled me to bridge my passions for literary criticism and creative writing, while the Hopkins Humanities Center and exceptional Art History faculty helped me to appreciate my academic projects in an expansive historical context. And in graduate classes with experts like Michael Fried, I have encountered some of the most extraordinary film, photography and criticism being produced today. Guided by these professional examples, I have made full use of the cultural resources that Hopkins puts at my fingertips."

The Beinecke Scholarship is the latest of many academic accolades earned by Kennedy, who holds a Hodson Trust Scholarship, awarded by Johns Hopkins to fewer than 20 incoming freshmen and renewed each year on the basis of academic and personal achievement, leadership and contribution, and worth up to $24,000 a year. He also is a member of the Gold Key International Honors Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

As an undergraduate, Kennedy has pursued his fascination with topics ranging from American Modernism to 19th-century European criticism to dissident postmodern art in the Soviet Union by conducting independent research through two programs at Johns Hopkins — the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship (funding of up to $10,000 over four years) and the Provost's Undergraduate Research Award (up to $3,000 for a semester-long project). Last summer, the PURA grant covered the cost of his first trip abroad — a one-scholar revival of the European "grand tour" — when he traveled through London, Venice, Florence, Paris and other European cities to experience firsthand the classical West that had captivated "the most potent literary minds in generations past."

In addition to his research, Kennedy is active in a number of literary pursuits, including writing for the student newspaper, The News-Letter, where he is a critic for film, professional theater and fine art, and a columnist on political philosophy and the humanities in American society. Several pieces of his fiction have appeared in the Writing Seminars' Thoroughfares literary magazine.

The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the board of directors of the Sperry and Hutchinson Co. to honor Edwin, Frederick and Walter Beinecke, brothers who led the company for many years. The board created an endowment to provide substantial scholarships for the graduate education of young men and women of exceptional promise. The program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study. Since 1975, the program has selected more than 370 juniors from 97 different schools for support during graduate study at any accredited university. Each scholar receives $2,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending. The last Johns Hopkins student to receive the award was Katherine L. McDonough, in 2005.


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