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Peter Graham receives William E. Wine Award for Teaching Excellence

April 22, 2016

Peter Graham
Peter Graham

Peter Graham, a professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has received the university’s 2016 William E. Wine Award.

The William E. Wine Award was established in 1957 by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association in memory of William E. Wine, Class of 1904, who was a former rector of the Board of Visitors and Alumni Association president. Following a college-level selection process of candidates nominated by students, faculty, and alumni, each college may put forth one nominee. From this group, three faculty members are selected annually. Each Wine Award winner receives $2,000 and automatic induction into the Academy of Teaching Excellence.

Since 1978 Graham has taught 140 undergraduate and graduate courses on 80 distinct topics.

He has designed, co-designed, and revised several courses, including ones on literature and medicine, the English novel, British literary history, and Harry Potter. Graham has supervised more than 70 master’s theses and graduate and undergraduate independent studies.

“Peter makes it clear to his students that it is possible to spend a lifetime making connections, appreciating textures, shaking one’s head in wonder and admiration, and to do all of this in the ever-shifting company of other equally curious, equally articulate adventurers,” wrote Thomas Gardner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of English, in a nomination letter. “What he offers his students is entrance into a way of life that many of them, often with his ongoing support, spend decades developing and refining and using to change the world.”

Graham consistently receives outstanding scores on student evaluations and is often recognized for his encouraging demeanor and desire to see his students succeed. He was the 2015 recipient of the Undergraduate Mentoring Award.

“He approaches students as individuals with fascinating but quite different interests, encouraging each of us to take our ideas out of the classroom, explore them creatively or through research, and bring them back into the conversation,” wrote Sarah Schaefer, a student in the Department of English, in a nomination letter. “He is a master of this, sending students out on their own and then calling them back together.”

Graham received his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and his master’s degree and doctorate from Duke University.

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