Dr. Karen Swallow Prior is a native of Maine who moved to Virginia from Buffalo, New
York, where she completed her undergraduate and graduate studies. She was raised in a
strong Christian home and received Christ at a very early age. But it wasn’t until she
was in her twenties that Dr. Prior was introduced to the concept of the Christian
worldview. This was when her faith became real and she embraced the challenge of not only
living biblically, but thinking biblically, too. Her life has never been the same. Dr.
Prior incorporates this love of living and thinking biblically into her teaching and her
study of literature and language, and it is what fuels her passion for both.
Dr. Prior was the 2003 recipient of the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence. In
2006 she received the Sigma Tau Delta (LU chapter) Teacher of the Year Award. She teaches
British literature primarily, with a specialty in Eighteenth Century British literature
which she loves for its emphasis on philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and community, as
well as for the correction it offers to the universal human impulse to gravitate toward
Dr. Prior and her husband Roy Prior live in Amherst where they spend their time
renovating their 1912 farmhouse and spoiling their three boisterous and beautiful German