The Department of Classics


News, events, and accomplishments from students, alumni, faculty, and staff

Follow GVSU Classics on Facebook. The Friends of Classics at GVSU group on Facebook (registration required) is "the (semi-)official site for alumni, alumnae, (alumna[?],) current students, friends, and casual observers of Classics at Grand Valley State University."

Click here for a listing of GVSU Classics-related video, multimedia, and podcasts.

The Department of Classics is featured in the Winter 2009 issue of GV Magazine. An archive of past GVSU Success Stories featuring Classics students is available.

We welcome your news!
Updated 8 May 2014

Nick Macksood '14 has been invited to participate in the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) and will spend next year in the Bretagne region working in secondary education.

Melissa Houghton '14 has been admitted to the MA/PhD program in Ancient History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "At the moment I plan to focus on Greek History, with a specific interest Spartan history," she writes.

Trevor Shaw is the recipient of GVSU's Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship for Summer 2014. He has accepted an internship offer in the Washington, D.C. office of U.S. Senator Paul Levin of Michigan.

Devin White '08 writes: "I am officially ABD [in the Ph.D. program in Religion at Emory University] and putting my Classics background to good use."

Allie Pohler has been recognized as a winner of the 2014 Honors Freshman Paper Competition. Her third-place paper, "Recontextualizing the Roman Identity in Livy's History of Rome, Book 1," is the product of her work in the Honors Classical World foundational interdisciplinary sequence.

Aurora Henniger '14 and Michelle Lenartz '14 will be assisting Prof. Melissa Morison in cataloguing artifacts in the Corinth Museum during two weeks in Greece during the summer of 2014.

Megan Esparsa, Kendall Farkas, and Chelhallis Robinson will spend the summer participating in the Villa del Vergigno Archaeological Project in Montelupo Fiorentino, Italy.

Megan has been named a recipient of the 2014 Excavation and Field School Award by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS).

Jon Hatter '10 writes: "I have recently accepted an invitation to the PhD program in New Testament and Early Christianity in the Theology Department at Loyola University Chicago. I have also just received word that I will be fully funded in that program for its duration."

Prof. Diane Rayor has been selected to receive the 2014 Women's Impact Award by the GVSU Women's Commission.

This annual award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions for the advancement of women at GVSU and in the community as a professional, volunteer, or agent of change. 

2014 Student Scholarship Day (SSD) presentations by Classics students:

Megan Esparsa (mentor: Prof. Melissa Morison): "Cena Vettiorum: Negotiating Social Mobility in the Early Roman Empire"

Melissa Houghton (mentor: Prof. William Morison): "Religious Influence on the Spartan Military"

Michelle Lenartz (mentor: Prof. Melissa Morison): "Enhancing Site/Visitor Interaction at Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli Italy"

With great sadness, we mourn the passing of our dear friend, colleague, and teacher, Professor Barbara Flaschenriem.

Barbara Flaschenriem, Associate Professor of Classics, passed away on August 15, 2013, at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, following a long illness. She joined the faculty of Grand Valley State University in 1998. Initially appointed in the Department of English, she became a founding member of the Department of Classics in 2000.

Professor Flaschenriem held the Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining Grand Valley, she held faculty appointments at Seton Hall University and Yale University. Her teaching and scholarship were informed by aspects of feminist theory focusing upon representations of women in Roman literature and society. Her writing was marked by great subtlety and intellectual grace. Colleagues and students cherished her unassuming but wry demeanor and her intense passion in the classroom. Prof. Flaschenriem was at work on a monumental study of the Roman poet Propertius that was left uncompleted at her death.

A memorial gathering was held at the Alumni House on the Allendale campus on Sunday, September 8. 

Prof. Diane Rayor has published Euripides' Medea: A New Translation (Cambridge 2013), which was produced by Heritage Theatre Group in Grand Rapids in July 2012 (directed by Karen Libman).

We welcome back Dr. Gwendolyn Gruber as Visiting Assistant Professor this year.

With all best wishes we congratulate Dr. Kelli Rudolph upon her appointment to the faculty of Classical and Archaeological Studies at the University of Kent.

Abigail DeHart will study Sanskrit and Hindi during 2013-14 in Uttar Pradesh, India, as a participant in the Varanasi Program organized by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Founded in 1961, the program highlights India's ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity. Varanasi (formerly known as Banaras) is located along the Ganges River and is a major Indian pilgrimage center as well as a thriving modern city of approximately 1.3 million inhabitants.

Abigail received substantial financial support as a recipient of the Barbara H. Padnos International Scholarship.

Melissa Houghton will participate in the 2013 Summer Sessions of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

Riley O'Brien and Chani Jones have been appointed to summer internships at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

Jonathan Langerak '13 is planning to pursue postgraduate study at Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary.

Kaitlin M. Liebig '13 is planning to pursue postgraduate study at Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science.

Andrew Lund '13 is planning to pursue postgraduate study in Classics at the University of Cincinnati.

Andrew is a recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Honors Senior Project Award by the Frederik Meijer Honors College. His project, "Prometheus Stories: Promethean Myth and Mythopoeia for Adjudicated Students," was supervised by Prof. Diane Rayor.

Kristen L. Goodwin '12 has been appointed a Compliance Analyst at CUSO Development Company, a credit union service organization in Grand Rapids.

Alyssa Hoff '12 is planning to pursue postgraduate study in Museum Studies at the University of Glasgow.

Mark Beckwith '11 has been appointed a Latin Instructor at The Waterford School in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City. Founded in 1981 by the non-profit Waterford Institute, the school's mission is to educate children by joining a classical liberal arts education with the benefits of the latest computer technology.

Mark is featured as a GVSU Success Story.

Melanie Coughlin Depcinski '10 has been awarded the MA in Applied Anthropology by the University of South Florida.

Jonathan Hatter '10 has been awarded the MA in Early Christian Studies by the University of Notre Dame.

Rachel Hull '10 has been awarded the JD by the College of Law of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

S. Scott Schupbach '10 has been awarded the MA in Linguistics by the University of Montana. He plans to matriculate to the PhD program in Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Jim Kennedy '09 has been awarded the JD by the Law School of the University of Notre Dame.

Adam Bowers '07 has been appointed a New Media Specialist at EndoChoice, a medical device maker in Atlanta, Georgia.

Katie Erdman '07 has received a National Science Foundation grant to fund her dissertation research in archaeology as a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology of the University of Minnesota.

Charles "Ty" Ham '06 has been awarded the PhD in Classical Studies by the University of Pennsylvania. 

His main scholarly interest has been literary representations of philosophy, focusing on the poetry of Ovid. He approaches some of the fundamental questions in Ovidian scholarship such as genre and Ovid's representation of power through his use of Greek philosophical elements, which function as themes and organization principles in his works.

His dissertation looked in particular at Ovid's use in the Fasti of the concepts of love, strife and the four elements, which were associated especially with the philosopher-poet Empedocles in antiquity. Beyond Ovid and poetry, he is also interested in the representation of philosophy in Cicero.

Erin Koren is one of three students recognized as a winner of the 2013 Honors Freshman Paper Competition. Her second-place paper, "Overcoming Conflict in Homer's Iliad," is the product of her work in the Honors Classical World foundational interdisciplinary sequence.

Both Erin and Elyse Cloeter were invited to present papers at the 7th Annual Grand Rapids Honors Student Research conference, held at GVSU on April 13. Elyse's paper was entitled, "The Mediator." Prof. Charles Pazdernik mentored the two projects.

Chani Jones has been inducted into the GVSU Circle of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society (ΟΔΚ).

2013 Student Scholarship Day (SSD) presentations mentored by Classics faculty:

Joshua Arnold (Mentor: Prof. Charles Pazdernik): "Orators & Empire: Aper’s First Speech in Tacitus’ Dialogus De Oratoribus"

Abigail DeHart (Mentor: Prof. Diane Rayor): "A Long Journey Home"

Megan Esparsa (Mentor: Prof. Charles Pazdernik): "A Career Guide for Prospective Gladiators"

Andrew Lund (Mentor: Prof. Diane Rayor): "Promethean Myth & Mythopoeia for Adjudicated Students"

Nicholas Macksood (Mentor: Prof. Peter Anderson): "A Study in Ancient and Modern Communication Theories"

Riley O’Brien (Mentor: Prof. Melissa Morison): "Re-Imagining the Art in the Honors College"

Katie Oyama (Mentor: Prof. Peter Anderson): "Seneca’s De Otio, Student Engagement & Academic Success"

Alan Fleming '06, pursuing graduate study in Classics at Indiana University, has been awarded a Future Faculty Teaching Fellowship for 2012-2013 at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis.

Andrew Lund presented a peer-reviewed paper, "Power, Présages, and Portrayal: Suetonius’ Representation of Livia," at the 2012 meeting of the Southern Section of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS-SS) in Tallahassee, Florida.

Andrew is featured as a GVSU Success Story.

Prof. Charles Pazdernik has published "‘How then is it not better to prefer quiet, than the dangers of conflict?’: The imperial court as the site of shifting cultural frontiers," 99-111 in David Brakke, Deborah Deliyannis, and Edward Watts, eds., Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity (Ashgate 2012). 

Elizabeth Drake Parker '12 (Classics and Mathematics) has been appointed a Design Apprentice at Atomic Object, a software developer in Grand Rapids.

Dylan Moore '12 (Classics, German, Philosophy) writes about his experiences studying abroad at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome (ICCS) in the most recent edition of Global Connections, produced by the Padnos International Center:

Had it not been for the generous funding of the Mark and Elizabeth Murray Scholarship from the Padnos International Center, the Benedetta and Giancarlo Galassi-Beria Scholarship Fund from the ICCS, and the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship from the U.S. State Department, I would have never been able to study abroad.

The fact that I was able to learn Latin and Greek, and what’s more go to Rome, is a testament to American democracy and the outstanding intellectual possibilities offered by Grand Valley State University. Not only did Grand Valley prepare me academically for this incredibly challenging program, it also helped me get the funding to participate through the Padnos International Center and the Office of Fellowships.

Dylan graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics, German, and Philosophy. He plans on attending law school this fall in Washington, D.C. and pursuing a career in international law.

Nicholas Maki '12 (Classics and Philosophy) is a recipient of the 2012 Glenn A. Niemeyer Student Award.

The Niemeyer Awards are the most prestigious academic awards presented by the University and are given annually at the Spring Awards Banquet to two faculty members, two undergraduate students and two graduate students (one full-time student and one part-time student). 

These awards are named for Glenn A. Niemeyer who retired from Grand Valley State in Spring 2001 after thirty-eight years of dedicated service. He was a pioneer faculty member and served as the institution’s first Provost from 1980-2001. The Niemeyer Awards are a tribute to the high regard the University has for Dr. Niemeyer and to the many outstanding contributions he made throughout his career. 

The Awards honor faculty and students who strive for excellence in all aspects of a well-rounded academic experience.

Nick plans to matriculate to the M.A. program in Classics at the University of Washington next fall.

Kelsey Jansen van Galen '09 writes: "I just wanted to let you all know that I've accepted an archivist position with CNN's archives in Atlanta!  I will be starting at the end of May, and couldn't be more excited!

"The Classics gave me my starting point, and it's blossomed into a wonderful career path."

Kristen Goodwin '12 (Classics and History) writes: "after graduation, I will be entering the West Michigan work force at my current place of employment. I will be moving from an internship to full time employment at Member Advantage Mortgage in Ada." 

Elizabeth "Betsi" Bryker '12 (Classics and Music) plans to attend the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University next fall.

Jim Stray '12 (Classics) plans to attend the University of Minnesota Law School next fall.

Anna White is one of three students recognized as a winner of the 2012 Honors Freshman Paper Competition. Her third-place paper, "Exemplarity in Roman Culture as Applied to Brutus and Lucretia," is the product of her work in the Honors Classical World foundational interdisciplinary sequence.

On April 18, 2012, New York-based Aquila Theatre staged selected scenes from classical Greek poetry and drama at The Grand Rapids Public Library's Ryerson Auditorium in downtown Grand Rapids.

The program included selections from Homer's Odyssey, Aeschylus' Agamemnon, Sophocles' Ajax and Euripides' Herakles, under the theme "Stranger in a Strange Land: Encountering the Other."

Prof. Diane Rayor led a post-show discussion.

The performance was the culminating event in a series of community outreach activities organized by Prof. Rayor under the aegis of Ancient Greeks / Modern Lives: Poetry - Drama - Dialogue, a program funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

2012 Student Scholarship Day (SSD) presentations mentored by Classics faculty:

Andrew Lund (Mentor: Prof. Barbara Flaschenriem): "Power and Presages: Livia and Tanaquil as Readers of Omens"

Amber Strick (Mentor: Prof. Melissa Morison): "Iron Age Ceramic Technology: A Petrographic Approach"

Lauren Vignali (Mentor: Prof. Melissa Morison): "The Role of Women in Ancient Greek Cuisine: Conflicting Evidence from Art and Literature"

Hillery York (Mentor: Prof. Melissa Morison): "Exhibiting Holland's Legacy"

Megan Esparsa presented a paper, "Divine Inspiration as a Tactic of Resistance Against the Roman Order: Sicily, Spartacus, and Sertorius" (Mentor: Prof. Charles Pazdernik) at the 6th Annual Grand Rapids Honors Student Research conference, held at Calvin College on April 14.

Jonathan Langerak is a recipient of the 2012 Manson A. Stewart Scholarship, awarded by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS).

CAMWS is an academic organization that focuses upon the study of ancient Greece and Rome. Founded in 1905, it is the largest regional classical association in North America, covering thirty-two states and three Canadian provinces.

The Stewart Scholarship recognizes outstanding young classicists from colleges and universities in the CAMWS area. Each recipient will receive $1,000 to support his or her study of the Classics during the 2012-13 academic year and a year's membership in CAMWS itself.

Jon is one of six winners announced on March 31, 2012, during the 108th Annual Meeting of CAMWS, held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is the third GVSU Stewart Scholarship recipient since 2009

Also recognized in 2012 were students from Creighton University; Macalester College; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; the University of North Carolina, Greensboro; and Ripon College.

Jon is featured as a GVSU Success Story.

Profs. Peter Anderson and Charles Pazdernik were among twenty faculty members recognized as Faculty of Distinction by the GVSU Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society (ODK), which is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its founding this year.

Katie Oyama is the recipient of the Benedetta and Giancarlo Galassi-Beria Scholarship in the amount of $19,000. The award is in support of study at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS) in Rome during the Winter 2012 semester.

Katie is featured as a GVSU Success Story.

Profs. Diane Rayor (Classics) and Karen Libman (Communications) have been awarded a GVSU Interdisciplinary Research Initiative grant in support of their collaboration on a project entitled “Translating Greek Drama for the Stage,” which will culminate in a Heritage Theatre Group production in July 2012 and a Cambridge University Press publication of Euripides’ Medea.

The web page of the American Philological Association (APA), the principal learned society in North America for the study of ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures, and civilizations, features an interview with Prof. Peter Anderson, winner of the APA's 2010 Collegiate Teaching Award.

2011 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumna in Residence Brittany Hunter, Classics and Honors '08, addressed a capacity crowd in Kirkhof Center on October 27:

"You Majored in What?"
How my liberal arts degree led to my high-tech dream career.

Brittany made her first website when she was 13. It was purple and it had sparkles and ponies. It was around that time that she decided she wanted to design software. 

A 2008 GVSU Honors graduate, she received the B.A. in Classics with an emphasis on both ancient Greek and Latin -- a background that sometimes elicits comment in her line of work. Yet her training in Classics has proven to be anything other than a drawback as her career has progressed from employment as the website coordinator for a Grand Rapids-based international nonprofit organization, to work as a developer on the GVSU Webteam, to her current position at the nationally recognized software firm Atomic Object.

Brittany credits her success to the intense training she received in critical thinking, rhetoric, and language while learning about the Greco-Roman world at GVSU. In combination with her love of visual design, this preparation enables her to respond to the needs of clients by comprehending complex business domains and effectively communicating difficult concepts in understandable, usable, visually beautiful ways. 

Outside of work Brittany spends a lot of time riding, training, and taking care of her three horses; on weekends she competes with them in local dressage competitions. During the school year, she enjoys teaching violin lessons and tutoring high school Latin. She also dabbles in photography, blogging, cooking, and gardening.

Tiffany Korican has been named a Fellow of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies' Cook Leadership Academy. A major in History and in Latin Secondary Education, Tiffany is a founding member and past president of the Grand Valley Disability Advocates and vice president of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society.

We welcome Dr. Gwendolyn Gruber as a Visiting Assistant Professor this year. Dr. Gruber completed her PhD in Classics at the University of Iowa in 2009, and her research interests include ancient philosophy, early Greek science, epic literature, and etymology.

Professors Diane Rayor and Kelli Rudolph are on leave in 2011-12.

Dylan Moore has been named a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholar by the U.S. Department of State.

A nationally competitive award, the Gilman Scholarship supports U.S. undergraduates studying abroad. 

Dylan will study in Rome at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS), of which GVSU is a member.

Dylan, who is presently studying in Munich, writes:

First of all, Munich is absolutely beautiful. I live right next to the Englischer Garten (the largest metropolitan park in the world), the city is full of magnificent architecture, and I can see the Alps from my balcony! 

There are also world class museums here including works like Albrecht Dürer's self portrait, Van Gough's Sunflowers, and a collection of Roman sculptures that is quite impressive (standing in a room with busts of Plato, Aristotle, Homer, and Alexander the Great, then reading a section of Agamemnon while looking at a sculpture of a fallen hero of Troy was quite an afternoon).

Prof. Kelli Rudolph has published "Democritus' Perspectival Theory of Vision," Journal of Hellenic Studies 131 (2011) 67-84.

April Conant '09 writes that she has enrolled in the Masters program in Library and Information Science, with an ambition to complete the Archival Administration and Records and Information Management certifications, at Wayne State University in the Fall.

Classics major Kristen Goodwin has been featured for her work in organizing a newly-planted community garden in Wayland, MI.

Adam Bowers '07 writes that after graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary with an M.Div. in 2010 and relocating to Atlanta, he recently started his own Social Media Management and Consulting firm for churches, nonprofits, and businesses called Adam Bowers Media:

“My education from GVSU Classics is integral to the work I do every day. The critical thinking skills and facility with language I developed in Classics has helped me immensely. Writing daily blog posts and communicating effectively on a variety of levels with a variety of people requires exacting command over the English language. I keep saying that I never really learned English until I learned Greek and Latin!

"My only regret is that I did not spend more time with ancient rhetoric while in GVSU Classics. The art of writing and speaking persuasively is so valuable, and I would encourage others to spend more time with it if they can.”

Follow Adam and Adam Bowers Media at

Mark Beckwith '11 has accepted a position as a Latin instructor at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, New Hampshire.

Joshua Congrove '02, GVSU's first graduate in Classics, successfully defended his dissertation at Indiana University on May 2. Congratulations, Dr. Congrove!

Amanda Sinning '07, a Project Coordinator in the Healthier Communities Department at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, writes that she will pursue a Masters degree in Public Administration at GVSU in the Fall:

My concentration will be Health Administration, which should serve me well at Spectrum Health. I am especially looking forward to Health Care Law and Ethics, as well as the other courses that delve into the moral side of the medical field.

Melanie Coughlin '10 writes:

Since coming to the University of South Florida [as an M.A. student in Applied Anthropology] I have been working with the Office of Sustainability as a Sustainability Fellow. Aside from managing social media and promoting the office at events all over the Tampa Bay area, I have been enlisted to assist in a number of event planning and media design projects. In addition to greatly enhancing my knowledge on how to live a sustainable lifestyle and promote “going green,” I have had opportunity to use the fabulous skills I gained serving the Classics Society! It’s true!

Hannah Gaff (Classics and Theatre '08) writes:

I started a theatre company called bangarang theatre company in San Francisco this past October! We are currently performing our "Super Sexy San Francisco Street Show" on the pier here and looking toward our next major project, which will likely be "Oedipus Wreck'd: a Clown Tragedy."  

Kelsey Jansen van Galen '09 writes that in May she completed a Masters degree in Library and Information Science at Wayne State University:

I will be completing my Certificate in Archival Administration this summer at two different institutions.  I will be at the Walters Art Museum archives in Baltimore for six weeks, processing the collection of Dorothy Hill, who was the museum's first curator of Ancient Art, so right up my Classics background alley!

I will also be completing a two week intensive internship with the Freer-Sackler Galleries Archives, also known as the Smithsonian's Museum of Asian Art!  I'm very excited, and wanted to share my news with the department that started it all!

Tricia Augustine '06 writes that she graduated from the Tufts University Museum Studies Certificate program in May and currently is working in the Special Events Department of the Children's Museum of New Hampshire.

Loretta Lanning (Classics and Music '08) writes that she graduated from Central Michigan University with an M.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy: 

I am moving to Lansing in August to start my music studio. I had an amazing two years at Central, and will possibly continue my piano studies at Michigan State next year. Central does not have a classics program, but I did meet the history professor there who teaches the only two levels of Latin they offer. It is funny how I discovered those classes there; I found a crumpled up Latin I exam in the hallway, complete with a grade of C+. 

Classics major Katie Oyama writes:

I'm going to be in Grand Rapids for the summer, working with the SOL Program at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan as a Summer Youth Team Leader. The SOL Program is short for Supporting Our Leaders, and it enrolls students from the the areas around the center where there are issues with gangs. Its main focuses are preventing teens from entering gangs, encouraging academic success (drop out prevention), and helping the kids get on the right track for college. 

Cambridge University Press has published Sophocles' Antigone: A New Translation, by Prof. Diane Rayor.

Devin White '08 has been admitted to the Ph.D. program in Religion at Emory University, where he previously completed the M.T.S. in Biblical Studies.

Following his graduation in December, S. Scott Schupbach '10 and his wife Wendi embarked upon a Mediterranean adventure commencing, as it happened, in Cairo, where the Tahrir Square demonstrations were gathering steam.

Now returned to this hemisphere after additional stops in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece, the couple plans to return to their adventure tourism business in Alaska for the summer.

Scott will then matriculate in the M.A. program in Linguistics at the University of Montana, where he plans to work on indigenous and endangered languages.

Jonathan Hatter '10 has been admitted to the M.A. program in Early Christian Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Anne Groton, Secretary-Treasurer of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS) writes:

Many thanks to everyone, especially our wonderful colleagues at Grand Valley State University and Calvin College and the other dedicated volunteers and members of the local committee, who helped make the 107th Annual Meeting of CAMWS in Grand Rapids a "grand" success!  The 457 attendees enjoyed high-quality service at the Amway Grand Plaza and not just one but two on-campus receptions.  It was an honor to have Mayor George Heartwell personally welcome CAMWS to the city.

Dean Fred Antczak of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences received the CAMWS Award for Special Service, which honors contributions to the promotion of Latin and Classical Studies. 

In announcing the award, Dr. Alice Sanford, chair of the steering committee, stated: “glowing examples of your initiatives provided such supporting evidence that some of us longed to join you at GVSU, while others longed to send you our students.”

Three GVSU alumni presented papers.

Joshua Congrove ‘02 (Indiana University): “Caritate consensio: Cicero, Christianity, and the Transformation of Friendship in Augustine.”

Charles T. Ham ‘06 (University of Pennsylvania): “Calendar and Cosmos: The role of Janus and lis in Ovid’s Fasti.”

Kate T. Allen ‘08 (University of Michigan): “Staging a Deception: The Manipulation of the Stage in Plautus’ Miles Gloriosus.”

See pictures and more details in the CAMWS Newsletter.

Profs. Peter Anderson (Classics) and Robert Adams (Computing and Information Systems) have been awarded a GVSU Interdisciplinary Research Initiative grant in support of their collaboration on a project entitled "Prokope: Digital Commentary for Intermediate Latin Learning."

Dylan Moore, a triple major in Classics, German, and Philosophy, will be spending the year studying abroad at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) in Munich and at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (ICCS) in Rome with support from a Mark A. Murray Scholarship. 

Classics major Betsi Bryker, who is studying abroad at John Cabot University in Rome, sends pictures from a visit to Athens and writes: "I'm having an amazing time in Rome, and can't wait to tell everyone about it!"

Donna St. Louis '10 has completed the post-baccalaureate program in Classics at the University of Pennsylvania and accepted a position as a legal administrative assistant at a Philadelphia law firm. She plans to work for a while prior to resuming graduate studies in Classics.

The Department of Classics and GVSU's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, with the generous support of Provost Gayle Davis, welcomed distinguished classicist W. Robert Connor to campus on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 22-23.

Speaking before an overflow crowd at the Eberhard Center downtown on Tuesday evening, Dr. Connor asked, "What happened to the future?" -- pointing out that, whether it is the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989 or the more recent global economic crisis and ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, all too often we find ourselves blindsided by events. 

His lecture, subtitled "Lessons from ancient Athens on leadership and its limits," suggested that the ancients were under no illusions about living in a world of radical indeterminacy and prized adaptability and preparedness over pat solutions and over-confident projections.

Also very well-attended was the respondents' panel on Wednesday afternoon in Kirkhof Center in Allendale, where Dr. Connor was joined by Polly J. Diven (Political Science and International Relations, GVSU); Paul Isely (Economics, GVSU Seidman College of Business); and Jonathan R. White (Interdisciplinary Studies, Meijer Honors College, and Homeland Defense Initiative, GVSU).

Brittany Hunter '08 has joined Grand Rapids software developer Atomic Object as an Application Designer. 

She writes: "We'll be implementing some truly groundbreaking practices for this industry, and without a doubt, my education in Classics has endowed me with a superior ability to succeed in these endeavors--and believe it or not, I think my new boss recognizes it too."

Prof. Peter Anderson and Latin Secondary Education major Mark Beckwith have published "Form-Focused Teaching for the Intermediate Latin Student" in the journal Teaching Classical Languages.

Prof. Diane Rayor is a recipient of the 2011 Glenn A. Niemeyer Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service.

The Glenn A. Niemeyer Awards, named for the first Provost of Grand Valley State University, honor faculty and students who strive for excellence in all aspects of a well-rounded academic experience.

The Niemeyer Awards are the most prestigious academic awards presented by the university and are given annually to two faculty members, two undergraduate students and one graduate student.  

Classics, represented by Prof. Charles Pazdernik, prevailed over seven other academic disciplines in being selected for the last available seat on a life raft ferrying survivors of a hypothetical global cataclysm to an uncertain future in GVSU's first-ever Life Raft Debate in Cook-DeWitt Center on February 28.

Read about it in the GVSU Lanthorn.

Nick Maki has been invited to deliver a paper, entitled "Beyond Pleasure: Plato and the Good," at the Western Canadian Undergraduate Conference of Philosophy at the University of Victoria, British Columbia on March 12. The paper is an outcome of independent undergraduate research supervised by Prof. Kelli Rudolph.

Read about Nick's report about his experiences on the GVSU Office of Undergraduate Research of Scholarship (OURS) website.

Tiffany Korican has received the Heart and Soul Award for Outstanding Student Service from the Michigan Campus Compact, which recognizes undergraduate and graduate students for their time, effort, and personal commitment to their community through service.

Prof. Kelli Rudolph has been appointed to a post-Doctoral research fellowship, tenable at the University of Oxford, to work on a project entitled Power Structuralism in Ancient Ontologies. The project is hosted by the Faculty of Philosophy and supported by the European Research Council. 

Latin Secondary Education major Mark Beckwith has been selected as the Outstanding Undergraduate Student of the Secondary General Education department of GVSU's College of Education.

Prof. Peter Anderson has been named a 2010 recipient of the American Philological Association (APA) Award for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level.

Founded in 1869, the APA is the principal learned society in North America for the study of ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures, and civilizations. 

In citing Prof. Anderson's accomplishments, the award committee noted:

We are honored to recognize Professor Anderson’s distinguished record of teaching, his scholarship on Latin pedagogy, and his work on Latin teacher education in the state of Michigan with the APA’s 2010 Award for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level.

Prof. Diane Rayor has been selected as a National Endowment for the Humanities Program Scholar for the Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives program:

Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives places live theatrical events, reading groups and lectures in cultural institutions to inspire people to come together to read, see, and think about classical literature and how it continues to influence and invigorate American cultural life.
Aquila Theatre, the Urban Libraries Council, the American Philological Association, the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University and the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies are guiding this program traveling to 100 public libraries, museums, galleries and art centers across America focusing on veteran, inner-city, rural and underserved communities. Programming will occur from September 2011 to April 2013, and will be built around Greek drama and how its themes resonate today.

In Winter 2011 we welcome Dr. Rudolf Pörtner of the Technical University of Dresden as a visiting faculty member. Dr. Pörtner is a specialist in Medieval Latin and will teach a special topics course, CLA/HST 380 Carolingian Society and Culture.

We welcome back Prof. Peter Anderson and Prof. Barbara Flaschenriem.

Dr. Rachelle Brooks of Northwestern University, the principal investigator for the Teagle Assessment Project, in which the GVSU Classics and Political Science departments are taking part, reported on the interim findings of the study at the University Assessment Conference at the Eberhard Center on January 7.

H3: HOMERathon3, the third epic running of GVSU Classics' signature event, featured a non-stop performance of Homer's Iliad in Cook-DeWitt Center on October 5-6. The HOMERathon welcomed campus luminaries, including President Thomas Haas, and concluded with a performance by poet and translator Stanley Lombardo before a capacity crowd in Cook-DeWitt auditorium.

See the video feature of the event on GVTV (via Facebook).

Prof. Peter Anderson has been invited to attend the sixth annual Commentary Writers Workshop at Georgetown University in October.

Prof. Diane Rayor has been recognized as Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, by Colorado College, her alma mater.

Devin Lagasse writes:

During the summer of 2010 I spent the month of July in Durham, a small, beautiful city in the UK, doing an archaeological excavation in nearby Binchester.

The Binchester excavation project is a joint project between Stanford University and Durham University which has been excavating a Roman fort and the attached settlement, the vicus, at Binchester since the summer of 2009. I learned about the physical labor, processes, research, and some of the theory that goes into an archaeological excavation, as well as about the history of the Roman occupation of Britain and its aftermath. Fieldtrips included places like Bamburgh Castle, Piercebridge Roman Bridge, Vinovium, Wall’s End, and the small town of Lindisfarne.

The experience was a valuable learning and cultural experience as well as fun and full of incredibly interesting, lovely people. Going abroad is an adventure I would definitely recommend to everyone!

Tim Flanders '10 has accepted an AmeriCorps position with Camp Fire USA, which mentors and tutors at-risk youth in the Grand Rapids Public Schools.

We welcome Dr. Mark Veldt as an instructor in the Fall 2010 term. Profs. Peter Anderson and Barbara Flaschenriem are on leave.

Renee Mayes '09 writes that she has returned to Michigan from Virginia in order to take up a job teaching Latin in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. See the story in the GVSU Lanthorn.

Prof. Barbara Flaschenriem has published "Rescuing Cynthia:  Dream and Commemoration in Propertius 2.26," in Classical Philology.

Kelli Rudolph and Dunstan Lowe were married on July 24 in Cambridge. Congratulations!

Donna St. Louis has received the 2010 Niemeyer Student Award.

The Niemeyer Awards are the most prestigious academic awards presented by the University. They are named for Glenn A. Niemeyer, who served as the institution’s first Provost from 1980-2001. The Awards honor faculty and students who strive for excellence in all aspects of a well-rounded academic experience.

The criteria for the award state:

Students selected for the Niemeyer Award are well-rounded individuals with demonstrated excellence in both the classroom and extra curricular activities. [...] Students excel in the classroom and demonstrate a joy of learning as part of a community of scholars. Along with intellectual achievements, students will participate in activities outside the classroom that will serve to enrich their lives and the lives of others.

Donna will matriculate to the Post-Baccalaureate Program in Classics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mark Beckwith has received the 2010 Meijer Honors College Award for Excellence in Collaborative Research.

Mark collaborated with Prof. Peter Anderson to take research on the cognitive constraints affecting acquisition of language, and Latin especially, and to shape into it a practical pedagogy.

This marks the third consecutive year in which a Classics major has been recognized for an outstanding Senior Honors project, and the second consecutive year in which Prof. Anderson has supervised such a project.

Mark will be working on completing the student teaching components of the program in Latin Secondary Education next year.

Andy Lund is one of six recipients of the 2010 Manson A. Stewart Scholarship, awarded by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS). Each winner will receive $1,000 to support his or her study of the Classics during the 2010-11 academic year. Other recipients were from the Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the University of Texas.

This marks the second consecutive year in which a GVSU Classics student has been so recognized.

Andy has been featured as a GVSU Success Story.

Rachel Hull will matriculate to the University of Illinois College of Law in Urbana-Champaign.

Melanie Coughlin will matriculate to the Masters Program in Applied Anthropology and Public Archaeology, with a Concentration in Cultural Heritage Management, at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Prof. Melissa Morison is the recipient of a 2010 Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Association. The award of $5,000 will support her research on the Kenchreai Project in Greece this summer.

James Kennedy '09 writes:

I have officially decided to attend Notre Dame for law school.  We're very excited [...]. Our baby is due in the middle of May--we don't know yet whether it's a boy or a girl, so we have names picked out for either.  The names are a surprise--but we're sure that the faculty will be glad to hear that there is classical influence in the name we picked, though sadly, Penelope was ruled out as 'an old lady's name'.  We are really looking forward to moving to South Bend next year.

Alumna Brittany Hunter '08 appeared as a panelist in a discussion, organized by the Future Alumni Association (FAA), on recent graduates who have succeeded in the working world: "5 Under 25 - Learn From Those Who Came Before You."

Melanie Coughlin reports on behalf of the Classics Society about the fifth annual Greco-Roman Banquet:

The Greco-Roman banquet was an astounding success this year! Everyone in the club came together really well and worked really hard to make this event a success. Catering did an astounding job with the food, and with the help of Student Life we were able to decorate the Thornapple room really nicely.

We had the traditional speech giving everyone the background on the food. This year we also had music, thanks to the Scientists of Sound, and a talk on the recreated linen armor and weapons that were used during the Gladiator Games.

The games were a huge hit! We pulled additional competitors from the onlookers, and everyone faced off using the armor and foam weapons and then were judged by the crowd. Of course, our Commodus [who bore a striking resemblance to Prof. Peter Anderson] was compelled to fight and won the final battle.

Everyone seemed to have a good time, which will be really good for the future of the club. I was so impressed by the work everyone did and really proud of everyone for their hard work!

Prof. William Levitan is featured in the 25th annual Spring Lecture Series of the Institute for Medieval Studies of the University of New Mexico, the theme of which is "Love in the Middle Ages." His lecture, "Heloise and the Passions of Reason," focuses upon the afterlife of the celebrated love affair between Heloise and Peter Abelard and the ways in which they have been understood and represented in later centuries.

Five members of the faculty (Anderson, Lowe, Pazdernik, Rayor, Rudolph) presented papers at the 106th annual meeting of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS) on March 24-27 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

GVSU and Calvin College are co-hosting the 107th annual meeting, to be held in Grand Rapids on April 6-9. Follow the planning on Facebook.

Classics major Jennifer Folkerth presented a paper, entitled, "Memory's Catalyst: Nature in Sappho's Poetry."

Alumnus Alan Fleming '06, now in the PhD program in Classics at Indiana University, presented a paper, entitled, "The Perversion of Nature in the Slavery of Seneca's 47th Letter."

A standing-room-only crowd attended a lecture on March 1 by Dr. Joseph Stumpf, entitled, "Roman Holiday: Travelers and Tourists in the Roman Empire." Dr. Stumpf is a specialist in the socio-economic phenomenon of tourism and pilgrimage in the ancient world and teaches in the Dept. of History and Political Science of Montgomery College, Maryland.

Lauren Janicki and Donna St. Louis have appeared in print as co-authors of a parody on Homer, set to the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," which was originally composed off-the-cuff during the first HOMERathon in 2007. Subsequently revised, it has merited publication in The Classical Outlook, the official journal of the American Classical League and the most widely circulated Classics journal in North America.

Jaclyn Binder Wakefield '08 writes:

I continue my interests in ancient archaeology and architecture but have also developed an increasing interest in American Vernacular Architecture, a young and growing field that is very active here at the UW[isc.-Madison]. I spent this past summer in Madison participating in a field school that researched and drew arguably the oldest houses in Wisconsin (a mere 175 years old!). [...] I have continued this year to work as a project assistant [...] preparing for an exhibition opening in Istanbul next month on Lydian culture[...].

I will be finishing up my MA next winter [...] and will continue here at the UW in the Art History program as a part of the newly form[ed] Building-Landscapes-Cultures PhD track which works jointly with UW-Milwaukee and their architecture program. This allows me to continue my interests in ancient architecture while allowing me to explore American Vernacular in a more academic setting.

I hope everything in Allendale (and Grand Rapids) is going swimmingly!

Dean Anczak has expressed appreciation to Prof. Peter Anderson, Ben Knight, and Donna St. Louis for their contributions as members of the Grassroots Inclusion Taskforce (GrIT) in producing the Inclusion Plan for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: "their service will result in an increasingly vibrant and inviting environment for all of the extended GVSU community."

Prof. Charles Pazdernik has published “Paying attention to the man behind the curtain: Disclosing and withholding the imperial presence in Justinianic Constantinople,” in Bodies and Boundaries in Graeco-Roman Antiquity, Thorsten Fögen and Mireille Lee, eds. (De Gruyter. 2009) 63-85.

Prof. Diane Rayor has contributed translations of sixteen poems, including two published for the first time, to The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present, ed. Peter Constantine et al. (Norton, 2009).

Kelsey Jansen Van Galen '09 has been awarded a Graduate Student Assistantship providing full support while she completes the Masters in Library and Information Science program at Wayne State University.

Prof. Charles Pazdernik has published "'The trembling of Cain': Religious power and institutional culture in Justinianic oath-making," in The Power of Religion in Late Antiquity, Andrew Cain and Noel Lenski, eds. (Ashgate, 2009) 143-54.

Jennifer Folkerth has been invited to deliver a paper, entitled, "Memory's Catalyst: Nature in Sappho's Poetry," at the 106th Annual Meeting of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS), 24-27 March 2010 at the University of Oklahoma.

Brittany Hunter '08 writes that she has "some fantastic news":

"[L]ast week I was offered (and accepted) a position at GVSU! Starting the 14th I'll be working for the GVSU Webteam doing design and programming. [...Among other perks] I'll be able to get out to Allendale once in awhile on 'business' and you can bet I'll be a frequent visitor to the Classics suite whenever I'm in the area :)"

On November 18-21 Jenison High School mounted a production of Sophocles' "Antigone" directed by Todd Avery and based upon Prof. Diane Rayor's new translation. Anna White, daughter of GVSU English Prof. Brian White and sister of GVSU Classics alumnus Devin White '08 played the title role.

The Department of Classics hosted its third annual Classics Program for Teachers on Saturday, November 14. Profs. Peter Anderson, Charles Pazdernik, and Diane Rayor led workshops on mythology and history for area secondary school teachers. Dean Fred Antczak offered welcoming remarks.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has recognized Brigette Frantz '03, Esq., as a Distinguished Alumna-in-Residence for 2009-10.

The CLAS Distinguished Alumni-in-Residence Program provides a venue for departments to invite outstanding alumni back to campus to share their post-graduation experiences with the GVSU community.

Brigette is Associate General Counsel for Ethics in the Office of the General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) in Falls Church, Virginia. In this capacity she provides training and guidance on the Standards of Conduct for Executive Branch Employees and the Rules of Professional Responsibility to EOIR personnel, including immigration judges and Board of Immigration Appeals staff attorneys.

A native of Muskegon, Michigan, and a member of the Michigan Bar, she earned the B.A. magna cum laude in the Classical Tradition and in English Language and Literature in 2003. An Honors College graduate and recipient of GVSU's Award for Excellence and Faculty Scholarship, she was named the Outstanding Student in the Department of Classics in 2003.

More than fifty persons attended Brigette's presentation, "Perspectives on Law, Ethics, and the Classics," in Kirkhof Center on October 15.

Prof. Diane Rayor was honored as one of nine GVSU Presidential Service Learning Scholars for 2009-10.

Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

Prof. Rayor's work in this area includes mythology workshops she organizes in local schools that involve participants in HNR 300 Classical Mythology.

Kristen Rewa (née Heise) '06 has graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, passed her Bar Exams, joined the Grand Rapids City Attorney's Office, and gotten married -- not necessarily in that order.

Molly Ruberto (née O'Connor) '04 writes to say hello: "I am really glad to be back in touch with everything that is going on over there in Lake Huron Hall. I found the community section of your web page and was really excited to find out what everyone has been up to."

"Studying Classics imbued in my person an approach to the world and its challenges that has brought me success and appreciation in my endeavors. And even, in times of seeming dysfunction, a saving grace - a sense of unease in falling short of the work-ethics and standards of humanity that were instilled in me as a student of the Classics."

Renee Mayes '09 - the first student to complete GVSU's Latin Secondary Education program, started in 2004 - writes that she has taken up a position as a Latin instructor at Millbrook High School in Frederick County, Virginia:

"After graduating from Grand Valley [...] I interviewed with five different schools, had on-site interviews with two schools, and got three job offers - two of the schools offered me positions just based on my phone interview. The district where I accepted my current position had two different openings, but I impressed both schools so much that they both wanted me and I got to decide which position I wanted in the district. I am currently teaching Latin I-Latin III/IV at Millbrook High School at Frederick County Schools in VA. I really love the area and the students at my school."

Adam Bowers '07 recently paid a visit to the dept. suite. Adam will presently be entering his final year at the Princeton Theological Seminary and spent the summer working on his ordination exams.

Sara Simon '08 has joined the University Libraries as a Technical Specialist in Electronic Resources.

Jaclyn Binder Wakefield '08 writes: "I just wanted to say hi quickly. Everything in [U. Wisc.-]Madison is going swimmingly. I found my niche and I love it here. [...]Hope everything at GVSU is going well. I miss you all dearly!

Tricia Augustine '06 has been accepted to Tufts University's Museum Studies graduate certificate program.

We welcome Dr. Dunstan Lowe as a visiting professor this year.

Page last modified December 12, 2014