⚠   Notice – The latest updates on the evolving COVID-19 policies and resources for the campus community
COVID 19 - Related Financial Aid Updates

Contact Us |  

Search form


Samuel C. Irving Prize for American Wit and Humor

Description. The Samuel C. Irving Prize for American Wit and Humor is awarded for the best anecdote, story, poem, drawing, or play illustrative of American wit and humor. Both graduates and undergraduates may apply.

History of the Prize. The Regents' Minutes of September 12, 1911, note acceptance of the following gift:

In a letter to the UC President Mr. Irving stated:
"Through you, I give to the University of California five bonds of the Bohemian Club, from the income of which I desire an annual prize to be awarded to a member of the student body for the best anecdote, story, poem or drawing illustrative of American wit and humor. I do this to encourage sunshine in our daily life."

In a letter to the Chair of the Committee on Prizes, Samuel C. Irving's son, Livingston G. Irving stated:

"It was with pleasure that I received your letter of 22 June, 1957 informing me that Mathew Palmer Mitchell was the winner of the Irving Prize for American Wit and Humor for 1956-57."

"The origin of the prize was a somewhat facetious letter I had written my Dad, Samuel C. Irving, U.C. 1879, while he was attending the High Jinks at the Bohemian Grove on the Russian River in 1914. He read the letter to a group around the camp-fire in the evening and the inspiration for the prize was born."

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize's deadline.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.


Previous Winners

2019-20: Hannah Pietter ($700) 

2018-19: Jennifer Coluccio ($600)

2017-18: Tessa Rissacher ($600)

2016-17: Joseph Staley and Irina Popescu ($300 each)

2015-16: Jesslyn Whittell ($600)

2014-15: Donna Griggs ($750)

2013-14: Kelly Clancy ($750)

2012-13: John Alfred Panzer ($750)

2011-12: Yi (Jenny) Xie ($750)

2010-11: Emmeline Sun ($750)

2009-10: Kim Oja ($750)

2008-09: Ezra Carlsen ($800)

2007-08: Matthew McKenna ($750)

2006-07: Teresa Hovis and Mark Massoud ($375 each)

2005-06: Vivek Rao ($750)

2004-05: Adam Manfredi ($750)

2003-04: 1st Prize: Cawa Tran ($75); 2nd Prize: Timothy Tau Hsieh ($25)

2002-03: Albert Ofrecia ($100)

2001-02: Emily Teplin ($100)

2000-01: No award given

1999-00: 1st prize:  Elissa McKay ($200); 2nd prize: Jose Alaniz ($150)

1998-99: 1st prize: Joanne Palamountain and Jennifer Stroud ($100 each)

1997-98: Bryce Maritano ($100)