…I’m still picking up a pencil and letting my thoughts flow onto a sheet of paper. …

I’ve been expressing myself in written essays since I was a teenager without wondering who might have an interest in them in the future. It’s been an outlet for me to reflect on events that have affected my life in over 70 years gone by. ... I’ve got a pile of essays documenting my efforts I graduated from college; entered the business world ...; discovered the wonderful girl who has given me almost 60 years of happiness and 2 lovely daughters; pursued a new career ..., and shared so many adventures thereafter with my family, friends, and others. But, I don’t have enough paper to present all of the marvelous days I’ve enjoyed.  

--Arnold Kossoff, "Tracks in the Sands of Time"

The Kossoff family has provided a generous donation to sponsor a university-wide writing contest in fond memory of Arnold Kossoff. Mr. Kossoff wrote daily, reflecting on life, happiness, truth, and more mundane concerns like the significance of his first car.

Click here to make an entry to the
Pen-to-Paper Contest!

Submission Deadline: Friday, March 15, 2024

Winners will be announced at the Student Publication Ceremony on Wednesday, April 10. Doors open at 10:30 AM; event will start at 11:00 AM. 

2022 Winners & Finalists

*In 2023, the Contest was moved from the Fall 2023 semester to the Spring 2024 semester. Thus, there are no winners in 2023.

Undergraduate Category
Winner: Rithika Mathew, Catching Her Flying Kisses
1st Runner Up: Calli Abisognio, The Sweat Stain Upon My Being
2nd Runner Up: Florencia Azcurra, My Companion the Ocean

Graduate Category
Winner: Victor Menco Haeckermann, The Brightest Side of Resignation
1st Runner Up: Jessica Elizabeth Young, A Glimpse of the Future
2nd Runner Up: Paula Rodriguez, Mothering Your Hope


This annual writing contest is an opportunity for you to reflect on your life and values and to honor the memory of Arnold Kossoff.

Essays should be 450-650 words

There will be a   $400 scholarship prize    awarded to the best undergraduate and graduate essays (presuming at least 8 entries are submitted in each category). The prize will be dispersed via your FAU student account. The prize is not transferable and cannot be awarded as cash, OWL Bucks/Flex Bucks, gift cards, etc.    Eligible writers must be currently enrolled students at the time of the award. 

Topics can be broad-ranging but must be focused and purposeful. Students may submit more than one entry. We are open to any style of essay (personal, persuasive, expository, lyric, and so on) and hope contestants will be inspired by the spirit of Mr. Kossoff’s work.

Writing will be judged by staff from the University Center for Excellence in Writing who will narrow the pools to three finalists in the graduate and undergraduate categories from which a winner will be selected. 

In the spirit of Mr. Kossoff’s writing, essays will be evaluated on:

  • originality
  • clarity
  • thoughtfulness
  • significance
  • organization
  • development
  • impact
  • writing quality

The submission form will ask you to provide the following information:

Student status (undergraduate or graduate)
FAU Z Number
Submission Title
Phone #
Email Address
A file upload of your piece in .doc or .pdf format

On the essay itself, please only provide the essay's title and the last four digits of your phone number  as the only identification.

Timeline for submission

February 1:  Contest officially opens university-wide.
March 15:  Submission period ends.
April 10: Winners announced as part of the Student Publication Ceremony celebration, 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 10 (doors open at 10:30). Finalists will be contacted the week before the event. 

You will find samples of Mr Kossoff’s writing linked below.