Phi Theta Kappa Literary Award Named for Long-time Staff Member Nell Ewing

Jackson, MS – The Citation Award for the best entry in Phi Theta Kappa’s annual Nota Bene literary competition has been renamed the Nell Ewing Citation Award in honor of Nell Ewing, who retired December 31, 2012, after serving on the staff for 26 years.

Nell Ewing

“Since the days of the conceptual design of Note Bene, Nell Ewing has been a driving force behind providing Phi Theta Kappa members a venue through which to showcase excellent writing,” said Phi Theta Kappa’s Executive Director Dr. Rod Risley. “This honors anthology is the only publication of its kind that is distributed to 1,275 community colleges in nine nations. It is only appropriate that the top writing award in Phi Theta Kappa and featured in Note Bene carry Nell Ewing’s name.”

Nota Bene was founded in 1994 to showcase exceptional writing among community college students. Copies of Nota Bene are distributed to all community college libraries and to Phi Theta Kappa leaders. The student submitting the best manuscript each year receives the Citation Award of $1,000, now the Ewing Citation Award. The next top four entries receive the Reynolds Awards of $500 each.

Since the establishment of the journal and the scholarship program, $54,000 in scholarships have been presented to Phi Theta Kappa members, and nearly 300 students have had their work published.

Former Citation Award winner Jean Foster Akin said she was an older returning college student and homemaker of 22 years when she sheepishly entered her short story, The Sacred, into the Nota Bene competition, surprising herself by receiving The Citation Award for 2010.

“The Citation Award from Nota Bene gave me the courage I needed to pursue the writing career I had put on hold to raise my family. Nell Ewing was the warm, wonderful face of Phi Theta Kappa and Nota Bene for me,” said Akin, whose book, The Filigree Slippers, was published in 2011. “Thank you, Nell, for your years of service to Nota Bene and to the many students whose dreams have become reality because of it. It is so fitting that the Citation Award will now be called The Ewing Citation Award!”

Ewing served Phi Theta Kappa under the late Executive Director Emeritus Dr. Margaret Mosal many years before rejoining the staff and working with the current Executive Director Dr. Rod Risley. Together they established Nota Bene. Over the years she has served as photographer, staff writer, Director of Publications, and editor of numerous Phi Theta Kappa publications including Nota Bene, the Golden Key Newsletter, and Golden Key News Briefs.

A graduate of Mississippi University for Women, Ewing began her career in journalism, working for several local newspapers including the Clarion-Ledger/Jackson Daily News and the Madison County Herald. She is an honorary member of the Mu Epsilon Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Miami Dade College.

“This is such an honor, and I will be very humbled to see the Ewing Citation Scholarship listed among Phi Theta Kappa’s opportunities for members. Of course the association with writing, and with Nota Bene, makes this an extra-special recognition for me,” Ewing said. “I’ve been so proud of Nota Bene and of everything Phi Theta Kappa has accomplished in the years I have been associated with the Society.”

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, Peru, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 2.5 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 130,000 students inducted annually.

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