The Holden Fund for Diversity

The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, the first and most distinguished low residency program for poets and fiction writers, has always been exceptionally diverse in gender, age, occupation, academic background, and aesthetic views. Ethnic and cultural diversity, however, has proven to be more challenging.

It is not easy to attract students of color without first achieving a kind of critical mass, so that no student has the discomfort of feeling overly visible or tokenized. This can be a difficult cycle to break.

Inaugurated in 1995 by a generous donor, the Holden Scholarship was named for the late Dr. Reuben Holden, a revered President of Warren Wilson, who brought the MFA Program to the College and was its unfailing friend. During the aegis of the FOW, the Holden Scholarship has been sustained by the generosity of faculty, alumni, current students, and other donors. The scholarship has helped to build a more ethnically diverse population and brought to the Program students of extraordinary talent, some of whom could not otherwise have afforded graduate work.

In order to increase the numbers of students we are able to support, FOW created the Holden Diversity Fund in 2013. This fund offers grants in smaller amounts to students, called “Opportunity Grants” and full tuition grants to Holden Scholars. 

We thank everyone who has supported our efforts to create a more inclusive literary community within reach of all artists.

Beneficiaries of The Holden Scholarship:

Current Holden Scholars

Aaron Banks

Tobi Kassim

Teri Vela

Past Holden Scholars:

Sasha Hom, Fiction Class  of January 2022

Koye Oyedeji, Fiction Class of July 2021

Alberto Reyes Morgan, Fiction Class of July 2020

Hannah Torres Peet, Fiction Class of January 2019

Cynthia Dewi Oka, Poetry Class of July 2019

Andres Reconco, Fiction Class of July 2018

David Mills, Poetry Class of January 2016

Tommy Blount, Poetry Class of January 2014

Reginald Dwayne Betts, Poetry Class of July 2010

Chloe Martinez, Poetry Class of July 2009

Bora Lee, Fiction Class of January 2007

Natalie Baszile, Fiction Class of July 2007

Kathy Nguyen, Fiction Class of January 2007

Krystn Lee, Fiction Class of January 2007

Victoria Chang, Poetry Class of July 2005

George Higgins, Poetry Class of January 2002

Vyvyane Loh, Fiction Class of January 2001

Rodney Jack, Poetry Class of July 1999

Ven Begamudre, Fiction Class of July 1999

A. Van Jordan, Poetry Class of 1998

Fred Arroyo, Fiction Class of 1997