The William Weaver Prize in Italian Studies Modern and Classical Languages

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages at George Mason University is pleased to announce the William Weaver Prize in Italian Studies, a monetary prize in the amount of $1,000 that was generously originated and funded for several years by his nephew, Dr. W. Patrick Naylor, and his wife, Penelope. The Prize now continues to be awarded by the generosity of William Weaver's nephew, Dr. John Poulton, and his wife, Susan Poulton. The award recognizes the academic achievements of students who are minoring in Italian Studies. The first prize was awarded at a departmental ceremony on May 13, 2015.

The William Weaver Prize in Italian Studies is named in memory of William Weaver (1923–2013), a pre-eminent translator of modern Italian literature. It has been established in recognition of his former student, colleague, and friend, Dr. Kristina Olson, assistant professor of Italian in the department and coordinator of the Italian Studies Program. Weaver is best known for his translations of Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco, and Primo Levi, as well as Italian poetry and opera libretti. During his lifetime, he translated over 50 books; his translations earned him a National Book Award, two PEN translation prizes, and the PEN medal for translation in recognition of his life’s work.

Weaver graduated summa cum laude from Princeton with a Bachelor of Arts. He completed his postgraduate work at the University of Rome. He served as an ambulance driver in Italy during World War II for the American Field Service, and remained in Italy after the war. In 1990, Weaver returned to the United States and accepted a position as professor of literature at Bard College. He later received honorary degrees from the University of Leicester and Trinity College.

Recipients must have a declared minor in Italian Studies and be enrolled as an undergraduate student at the time of the award with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA. They may be either part-time or full-time students, and may be in-state or out-of-state students. Recipients will be selected on the basis of academic merit and financial need. All students minoring in Italian Studies at George Mason University will be considered, though preference might be given to graduating seniors.

Please contact Dr. Kristina Olson (, Italian Language Program Coordinator, with any questions.

2021 Awardee

Maia  Kiner

Maia Kiner

awarded $1,000