Tom Rye Harvill Award

Tom Rye Harvill Awards are not available at this time.

The interrelationship of art and science has produced objects and ideas of enduring meaning and beauty: Gray's Anatomy, British Admiralty charts of the 18th and 19th centuries, the exciting mix of natural history, art, society and science accompanying the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution, Audubon's prints, Clarke's and Dick's science fiction, Kraftwerk's music. The digital age has seen the intimate linking of science coupled with visual, aural and musical exposition. The generosity of Young Harvill (B.A., Evergreen 1976; M.F.A., Stanford 1985) makes possible an annual award of $5,000 to explore the intersections of art and science through the visual arts, literature, multimedia, dance, theater and any other compelling media including those emerging from the hard sciences.

The award is in memory of Young's father. Tom Rye Harvill was born in Centerville, Tennessee in 1915. His family left Tennessee when his mother died in childbirth; he was 4. He lived on his Grandfather's farm in Madison County, Mississippi until he was 6. His father, Grover Harvill, moved the family to Newellton, Louisiana, where Tom spent most of his boyhood.

Tom developed an interest in electronics, radio, astronomy, and poetry. After attending law school at LSU for a couple of years, he returned home to help his family in the depression years. He enlisted in the armed services at the start of World War II and served with the Signal Corps in the Philippines. After the war, while still in the Signal Corps, he worked on early prototypes of mobile radio teletypes.

He moved to Salt Lake City after the war to take a job at Packard Motor Company. He met and married Lorna Young in 1950. He continued his interest in radio by tinkering with ham radio.

In 1957, after continued study in electronics, Tom joined Univac, a company developing the first commercial computer. He was a field engineer and computer operator.

He joined General Electric's computing group in 1961, working as an electronics engineer and as a technical writer. He also wrote poetry.

Tom read a lot, did a lot, and was a great at synthesizing big concepts from detail. He used this in his poetry, and in day-to-day conversation. He was great to talk with because he was always engaged and interested in some new connection, some new way of looking at the world.

Tom Harvill died in 1997.

See a list of Harvill Award Past Recipients.

The Tom Rye Harvill Award competition takes place annually, with awards made in April of each year. Faculty, staff and alumni of The Evergreen State College are eligible to apply for the award. An independent jury will review submissions and choose the award winner.

Applications are due the first Friday in April at 5:00pm. E-mail applications to Sponsored Research at If you wish to submit a hard copy of your application, bring it to John McLain, LIB 2211 by the application deadline.

A complete application consists of the following:

  1. Title page and contact information including mail address, e-mail address and phone number.
  2. Project narrative not to exceed 3 single-spaced pages in 12 point type with one inch margins. The narrative should clearly describe the proposed project, include a brief project timeline and explicitly address the following questions: Why is your project important and/or interesting? In what ways is your project a synthesis of aspects of art and science? How have you or your team demonstrated the experience and qualifications to achieve a meaningful synthesis of aspects of art and science with this project? How does the project promise a novel, useful connection between scientific (analytical, objective) and artistic (perceptual, haptic, subjective) modalities? What need or function is met or accomplished by your project?
  3. A brief but detailed budget not to exceed one page, which must also serve as a budget narrative.
  4. Applicants may, if necessary, submit one attachment consisting of text, photo, video or sound file. Attachments must be in commonly used technology: MS Word for text only, PDF for documents with pictures and formatted text, JPEG or TIF when appropriate for images, MP4 for sound and MP3 for video. Attachments submitted in other ways will not be considered. Applications and attachments must be readable by both MAC and PC-based systems.

A project final report would be appreciated. If the final project is a work of art or literature, or a product which can be duplicated, photographed or otherwise copied, a copy would be appreciated.