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Robert Burns Lives!
 Volume 1 Chapter 18

Edited by Frank R. Shaw, Atlanta, GA, USA email:

If you were to scan through the Robert Burns Lives! series from the time we started this incredible journey a few years ago, you would see the articles by and about Dr. Ross Roy far outnumber those of anyone else. That’s the way it should be. Ross Roy is in a category by himself. This wonderful octogenarian has many colleagues but few peers when it comes to scholarship regarding Robert Burns, Caledonia’s Bard!

Recently, my wife Susan and I made the journey from Atlanta to Laurinburg, NC, to see another prestigious honor conferred on Dr. Roy. Accompanying him was his lovely wife Lucie and his good friend, Patrick Scott. It is an honor to bring you the following story about one whose company I enjoy and whose friendship I cherish.

North Carolina College Honors G. Ross Roy

The St. Andrews Presbyterian College Scottish Heritage Center recently paid tribute to the scholarship of Dr. G. Ross Roy. Professor Roy was presented the annual Scottish Heritage Center Award during the Charles Bascombe Shaw Memorial Scottish Heritage Symposium held March 11-13, 2005, for his outstanding contribution to the Scottish community. The symposium, which includes speakers from Scotland and America, is under the able leadership of Bill Caudill, Director of The Scottish Heritage Center, and is held annually on the campus of St. Andrews College.

Dr. Roy is a world renowned Robert Burns scholar. He is retired from the University of South Carolina where he taught English and Scottish Literature. Over his lifetime, Dr. Roy built the “most notable” Burns collection outside of Scotland and London and gifted it to the University of South Carolina several years ago. Dr. Roy edited and published two volumes of The Letters of Robert Burns, which are used universally by Burns scholars. Professor Roy has not slowed down and continues to produce a masterful series of journals that he began in 1963 on Studies in Scottish Literature with Volumes XXXIII and XXXIV being published in 2004. Lucie Roy is Associate Editor of the series.

For over 50 years, Professor Roy has served the Scottish community with many contributions to academic journals on Scottish Literature and Robert Burns. His numerous awards include the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society and his election as Honorary Life President of the Robert Burns World Federation. In 2002, the University of Edinburgh recognized his work regarding Scottish Literature with an honorary doctorate.

Dr. Roy earned Masters degrees from the University of Montreal and the University of Strasbourg and Doctorates from the University of Montreal and the University of Paris. Professor Roy joined the faculty of the University of South Carolina in 1965 after holding various teaching posts in Canada, Alabama, and Texas. He was named Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at USC in 1990 and continues as Curator of Scottish Literature at the university.

As already mentioned, Dr. Patrick Scott, his faithful friend and colleague of many years, also attended the ceremony in Laurinburg. Dr. Scott, a Burns scholar in his own right, is Director of Rare Books and Special Collections at the Thomas Cooper Library and Professor of English at the University of South Carolina. The two men spoke at the symposium on the topic, “How Later Generations Made a Burns Poem Their Own: Two Hundred Years of ‘Tam O’ Shanter.’”

Following receipt of the award at St. Andrews, Professor Roy wrote to me in a letter, “The award is particularly meaningful to me because it recognizes my Scottish achievement, something to which I have devoted a large part of my academic life.”

Our heartiest congratulations to Professor Roy, a friend of Robert Burns and a friend to his fellow Scotsman. (FRS: 5-16-05)

Ross and Lucie Roy displaying the 15th Annual Scottish Heritage Award that he was presented

(L-R) Professor Ross Roy; Frank Shaw; Lucie Roy; Dr. John Deegan, President, St. Andrews Presbyterian College; Bill Caudill, Director, The Scottish Heritage Center; and Dr. Patrick Scott, Director, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina.

Professor Roy enjoying the lunchtime break

(L-R)  Dr. Patrick Scott and Professor Ross Roy during their presentation, "How Later Generations Made a Burns Poem Their Own: Two Hundred Years of 'Tam O' Shanter'"

Return to June/July 2005 Index page or Robert Burns Lives! Index Page


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