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Robert Burns Scholar is
Neag Distinguished Professor
September 20, 1999

A Scottish relative of the lauded poet, Robert Burns, is a new resident in South Campus. Ken Simpson has been appointed the Second Lynn Wood Neag Distinguished Professor of British Literature for the fall semester. Simpson's home is "on the other side of the pond," in Glasgow, Scotland, where he is director of the Centre for Scottish Studies and senior lecturer in the Department of English Studies at the University of Strathclyde.

In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students in classes focusing on Scottish literature, Simpson will be the first scholar-in-residence to be staying in the South Campus dormitory complex.

"Ken Simpson's appointment adds a special dimension to the Department of English, particularly in his advocacy of an important literary legacy," says John Abbott, professor and head of the English department. "British literature should be seen as the product of a special culture and people."

Simpson is the author of a multitude of books and articles, mostly on eighteenth-century Scottish literature, with emphasis on the poet Robert Burns. In fact, one of Simpson's ancestors was the youngest sister of Robert Burns. He was a recipient of the W. Ormiston Roy Research Fellowship in Scottish poetry the University of South Carolina in 1992 and in 1995 he was honored with a British Academy Humanities Research Award. He is currently an honorary research fellow at the Glasgow School of Scottish Studies and is on the editorial board of the Studies in Scottish Literature.

The opportunity for Ken Simpson to serve as a distinguished guest of the University is due to the philanthropy of Raymond Neag who graduated from UConn in 1956. Neag's endowment is in honor of his late wife, who was Scottish. Simpson's visit to Storrs was also made possible by the efforts of John Gatta, Ross MacKinnon, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and R.D.S. "Ronnie" Jack of the University of Edinburgh, who last year was the first Lynn Wood Neag Distinguished Professor.

Marisha Chinsky