Scholarships & Awards

James R. Shirley Undergraduate Essay Prize

James R. Shirley (1925-1993) joined the history department in 1962 as a specialist in Chinese history. He was renowned for his teaching, and Asian history became a popular subject for students during the thirty years he taught at NIU. Shirley also served as faculty adviser for the local chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the international honor society in history. The Shirley family established an endowment in honor of James R. Shirley. This prize is given for an outstanding essay submitted by an undergraduate student in any NIU history course other than HIST 491 during the previous two semesters.

  • Monetary Award: $250 and a book prize
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate history majors or minors
  • Application: Faculty who would like to nominate a student should submit his or her essay along with the instructions for the writing assignment to the History Department office. Students can also nominate themselves by submitting the application form, an electronic version to in addition to the paper essay.