Established in 2017 by cultural historian, Dr J.L. Cook, and her husband, Dr David J. Marcogliese, this academic prize honours the work of her mentor, SSU Professor Emeritus of History, Dr. Gregg Finley.  Both Gregg’s and Jenny’s professional and personal lives have been dedicated to material history, architectural heritage, and museum studies. Thus the purpose of the Finley-Cook Prize is to re-emphasize the importance of, and encourage enlightening forays into, any three-dimensional artifact or building or cultural landscape that you encounter.


Any currently enrolled part-time or full-time student at St Stephen’s University is eligible for one non-renewable award—including Foundation Year students. Standard course papers or presentations, including those of non-historians, are automatically considered for the Finley-Cook Material History Prize.

Examples of eligible original work must emphasize an aspect of material history or explore the relevance of objects to the student’s specialty of interest. You may submit a substantial paper, a series of poems, a diary of travel-study reflections on historical artefacts including architecture, an online SSU-related travel photograph posting with interpretative commentary, a well-informed review of an exhibition, etc., etc. The Awards Committee encourages students to ask for clarification of criteria and on eligibility, at any time.

Pont du Gard, France

Recipient Responsibilities

The monetary award is for the sole discretionary use of each recipient, but each student is required to issue a short statement respecting her or his award work that shall be posted on Students are encouraged to innovate, as well as share their insights and passion for historical objects with fellow students.

Award Amount

There shall be one or two awards made at the end of each academic year, totaling a maximum of $500.


No application is necessary! Your professors may nominate your work and/or the awards committee will be looking out for deserving recipients.

Previous Winner: 

2018 – Alannah DeJong – Writing my essay, which explored the meaning of the relics of Francis of Assisi to the Christian tradition and to contemporary believers, was a combination of academic and experiential learning. I conducted my research through books and academic essays, but also had the pleasure of researching through observing some of Francis’ relics in person in Assisi, Italy. This made for a memorable (and adventurous) experience in material history research!

2019 – Kellyn Anderson and Tina Light –  Both of this year’s prize choices were a part of the Asia Study Abroad experience in Cambodia. Kellyn wrote a beautiful poem and reflection based on her experience at Choeung Ek (The Killing Fields) in Phnom Penh. The poem is written from the perspective of a tree on site, known as the Killing Tree. Tina also wrote a poem, entitled “Cambodian Street Poem.” After days of walking through the neighbourhood in Phnom Penh – known as the Russian Market – she wrote this poem to express all the different sensations of experiencing street life. She captures the crazy traffic, overwhelming smells, and the mixture of beauty and grime all around.