James McKenzie received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1966. He earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Notre Dame in 1971. His dissertation was entitled, “A New American Nature Poetry: Theodore Roethke, James Dickey, and James Wright”.
McKenzie arrived at the University of North Dakota in Fall 1971. In 1987, he became the advisory editor for the North Dakota Quarterly and the director of the UND Writer’s Conference in 1997. He has received many awards throughout his career, including the UND Foundation McDermott Award of Individual Excellence in Teaching in 1998 and 1999, as well as the 1993 Larry Remele Fellowship Award.