A scholarship named for writer J.D. Salinger will allow young writers with “quirky brilliance” to literally follow in his footsteps at Ursinus College.
Recipients of the newly created scholarship, announced Thursday, will get to live in Salinger’s old dorm room at Ursinus, where the author of “The Catcher in the Rye” spent the fall semester of 1938.
The $25,000 annual award was developed by English professors Jon Volkmer and Matthew Kozusko and is designed for creative writers with distinctive voices and unusual perspectives — but not necessarily the best grades.
“As many great writers, including Salinger, have shown, the best writers are often not the best students,” Volkmer said in a statement. “In the spirit of Holden Caulfield, we’re looking to help out the quirky kid with unique vision. This is not just another award for the high SAT crowd.”
Salinger’s short stay at Ursinus included classes in English literature, composition, biology, history and French. He was also the drama critic for the student newspaper. A framed letter from Salinger in the lobby of the school’s admissions office, dated March 15, 1963, says that he looks back “with a great deal of pleasure on my own days at Ursinus.”
The reclusive writer’s agent, Phyllis Westberg, declined comment Thursday.