Eric Gardner (’89) recently received the Earl L. Warrick Award for Excellence in Research from Saginaw Valley State University. The award is given each year to one of SVSU’s 300 faculty members for making “a significant and longstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge.” Gardner, who went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, teaches American literature at SVSU and has served two terms as department chair. His scholarly work focuses on 19th-century African American literature and includes Unexpected Places: Relocating Nineteenth-Century African American Literature (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2009), three edited books, more than a dozen articles for journals like African American Review and Legacy, and several entries for reference sources like the African American National Biography. Choice recently called Unexpected Places a “provocative and important study” in awarding it a four-star “essential” rating.