A third-year University of Virginia student with a wide array of academic interests, and who serves as executive editor of The Cavalier Daily, has received a 2013 Beinecke Scholarship, intended to provide substantial support for the graduate education of highly motivated students in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
Charles Tyson, 21, of Chapel Hill, N.C., a double major in political & social thought and English in the College of Arts & Sciences, is one of 20 winners from across the country to receive the prestigious scholarship, which will provide $34,000 toward his graduate education.
“I'm very humbled to have been selected as a Beinecke Scholar,” Tyson said. “My good fortune in receiving the award is due in large part to the efforts of teachers, friends and family members who have supported me. I love being a student and I’m grateful to have the chance to refine my understanding of literature and to connect with new friends, scholars and mentors in graduate school.”
Tyson plans to pursue a Ph.D. in English at an as-yet-undetermined school. He has a wide range of interests and has taken a variety of courses, including astronomy, economics, history, advanced foreign language, religious studies, political science, sociology, philosophy, English literature and a host of advanced theoretical courses across the disciplines.
Tyson said the “areas of study that have engaged and transformed me during my time at U.Va. include modern European intellectual history (especially the Enlightenment, British and German Romanticism, and Victorian thought and culture); technology’s impact on self, society and education; and 19th- and 20th-century British and American literature.”
Michael H. Levenson, the William B. Christian Professor of English in the College and the founding director of the Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures, praised Tyson’s mental acuity and “brilliant conversation.”
“Charlie combines extraordinary energy with keen intelligence, ambitious research goals and a beautifully lucid writing style,” Levenson said. “His interests are a model of original interdisciplinary thought and his capacity to move among several fields and multiple styles of thought make him one of the promising students that it’s been my privilege to teach.”
Tyson is an Echols Scholar and received Intermediate Honors after his first two years at U.Va. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Raven Society and a finalist for the Gray-Carrington Scholarship. He has also been selected as a Lawn resident for next year. He was a senior resident in the first-year dormitories and a member of the undergraduate advisory board of the Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures, founded and directed by Levenson.
“I love to participate in humanities-related events on Grounds as often as I can,” Tyson said. “But my biggest involvement is with The Cavalier Daily. As the paper’s executive editor, I write daily lead editorials and edit all opinion and editorial content.”
Tyson, the youngest of a set of triplets, plans to become a teacher and spend much of his life reading and getting people excited about books and ideas.
“Academia and journalism are two worlds that have inspired me as I've tried to figure out what to do with my life,” Tyson said. “The Beinecke will enable me to continue diving into literature to explore patterns of thought and rhythms of feeling.”
“Charlie is among the most impressive students I have encountered in my 22 years at the University of Virginia,” Megill said. “I admire tremendously his energy, enthusiasm, brightness, cheerfulness and sheer intelligence.”
Kirt von Daacke, an associate professor of history and assistant dean in the College, added, “Charlie has it all – grades, diverse and deep academic interests, the promise of being a great scholar upon entering graduate school, leadership traits and a powerful dedication to both academic and community citizenship.”
Tyson said that the books he has explored while in college have helped build his character as well as his academic achievement and helped make him the person he is today.
“I carry a large debt to teachers who have challenged and inspired me,” Tyson said. “I hope that graduate school will trigger questions and ideas that allow me to cultivate others’ intellectual and imaginative capacities.”
The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by The Sperry and Hutchinson Co. to honor Edwin, Frederick and Walter Beinecke, three brothers who guided the expansion of the company, starting in the 1920s. William Sperry Beinecke, son of Frederick and chairman and chief executive officer of the company, created the foundation and started the scholarships to encourage and enable motivated students to pursue opportunities in graduate studies in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Since 1975, the program has selected more than 500 college juniors from more than 100 different undergraduate institutions for support during graduate study at any accredited university.