Craig Sirles

Craig Sirles

Dr. Craig Sirles, BA ‘75/H&S, is a self-described “dedicated and serious student of words” so it is no surprise that his love of language and writing led him to be a student in the Department of English in the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences. His studies put him on a path that later included a doctorate in linguistics from Northwestern, teaching courses in etymology and philology and the publication of a Root Awakenings, a textbook on etymology for honors-level high school English classes.

Sirles, now retired, is a professor emeritus of English and former associate chair of the English Department at DePaul University. His experiences as a student in the VCU Department of English inspired him to pledge $100,000 to establish the Craig Sirles MA in English Scholarship that provides funding for a first-year graduate student engaged in literary studies in English. “More than any major I can think of, the English major imbues students with a sense and a sensitivity to the possibilities of oral and written expression: style and grace, diction, sentence structure, figurative language, levels of meaning, and rhetorical strategies for reaching your audience. Certainly, my English classes at VCU gave me this sense.”


Professor in the VCU Department of English, David Latané, Ph.D., explains the impact of Sirles’ gift. “The faculty of the English department is deeply grateful, on behalf of the Master’s students in literature who will benefit for this award for many years to come, for the generosity of Dr. Sirles and the trust he has placed in the department. The Craig Sirles MA in English Scholarship will be a signature award for our students as we continue our quest for excellence.”