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Classics newsletter 2019-20

Augustana and COVID-19

As many of you will have heard, Augustana College initiated an early spring break as a precautionary measure in light of the COVID-19 crisis before moving to distance learning for the rest of the term. The Classics faculty has worked hard to convert our classes to an online format and we are committed to helping all our students finish out the term successfully. Our current students, alumni, and supporters are all in our thoughts: we hope you are all staying safe and healthy at this time.

Classic Colloquium Banquet

Our Classics banquet is a classically-themed feast, held annually to welcome new majors and minors, to celebrate the achievements of our students, to hear a short lecture of interest, and to give our faculty, students, and supporters a chance to commune. Special guests at the 2019 banquet were alumnae Liz Johnson (‘10) and Dr. Brittany Price (‘11), who shared their thoughts on the ways in which the study of classics has been beneficial to them in their very different career fields (finance and medicine, respectively: Johnson is the branch manager at Heritage Credit Union in Machesney Park, IL; Dr. Price is an emergency room physician at Genesis Hospital in Davenport, IA). 

We regret that the COVID crisis necessitated the cancellation of this year's banquet, originally to have been held on April 21st (the 2,773rd birthday of Rome!). We hope that we can reschedule this event in the near future. Please stay tuned! In the meantime, we’d like to honor this year’s graduates, new majors and minors, and Classics honorees here: 

Welcome to our newest majors and minors! We are so glad to have you as part of our Classics community:

Kira Banks, Classical Studies (Latin) minor
Leanna Mazariego, Classical Studies (Latin) minor
Jacob Ramos, Classical Studies (Latin) minor
Morgan Rostamian, Classical Studies (Latin) minor
Henry Webb, Classics major
Jessica Zabala, Classics major

Congratulations to our 2020 Classics honorees!

Brenna Parson is the first recipient of our CAMWS (Classical Association of the Middle West and South) award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Classical Studies. Brenna is a thoughtful and dedicated student who often flies under the radar, but who brings much to the department and to every class she takes, and we are pleased to recognize her contributions with this award.
• This year, Ezekiel Jakubowski, Kellis Montgomery, and Mark Sharp earned entry into Augustana’s Glaux Aquila (the Owl and the Eagle), an honorary organization created to recognize those souls brave enough to tackle both Greek AND Latin. 
• Our 2020 Eta Sigma Phi honorees are Ezekiel Jakubowski, Kellis Montgomery, and Jameshia Walls. Eta Sigma Phi is the national honor society for students who excel in Classics, and we are pleased to welcome these three into Augustana’s own Epsilon Sigma chapter of HSP!

And of course, warm congratulations to our 2020 graduates in Classics, an amazing group with an astounding variety of additional majors and minors. We are so proud of each and every one of you!

Sean Bennington, BA in Classical Studies with a Latin emphasis, Math, and Philosophy
Samantha Flipp, BA in Theatre Arts, minor in Classical Studies with a Greek emphasis 
Mia Lambert, BA in Classical Studies with a Latin emphasis, Pre-Medicine, minor in Biochemistry 
Sarah Litwin, BA in Classics, Biochemistry, and Chemistry, minor in Physics 
Andrew Morgan, BA in Classics, Philosophy, and Political Science
Brenna Parson, BA in Creative Writing, minors in Classical Studies with a Greek emphasis and Spanish
Cassidy Potter, BA in Biology and Psychology, minor in Classical Studies with a Latin emphasis 
Mark Sharp, BA in Classics, Biochemistry, and Physics
Jamie Suiter, BA in Classical Studies with a Latin emphasis and Biology, minor in Accounting

Classics banquet
Augustana faculty and students with alumnae speakers Liz Johnson and Dr. Brittany Price (center) at the spring 2019 Classics banquet.

Public Scholarship

Classics in the new Millennium Lectures

The Classics in the New Millennium lecture series is a new offering by the department, devoted to highlighting current issues in the field of Classics. The inaugural lecture was held on March 28, 2019, and featured Dr. Sarah E. Bond, Associate Professor of History at the University of Iowa. Dr. Bond’s presentation, “Signs of the Times: Ancient Symbols Reused by Modern Hate Groups” called attention to the appropriation and misapplication of ancient iconography to further the agendae of white supremacist and other hate groups. If you missed it, Dr. Bond’s lecture is available for viewing on YouTube.

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Our speaker for the 2020 Classics in the New Millenium lecture was Dr. Nandini Pandey, Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While this was originally scheduled as an on-campus event, the move to distance learning in response to the COVID crisis prompted us to try something new: an online lecture via Google Meet. We are very grateful to Dr. Pandey for trying this experiment with us, and are pleased to report that it went very well indeed. Dr. Pandey presented her lecture at the originally scheduled time and date – 4:30 p.m. on April 27th – to a virtual audience consisting of current Augustana students, faculty, and staff, as well as Augie alumni both recent and and dating back to 1990; faculty and students from Monmouth College; and Dr. Pandey’s students from UWM. Our attendees joined in from Illinois, Iowa, Wisonsin, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Massachusetts. 

In her lecture, "Diversity and Domination at the Roman Dinner Table,” Pandey argued that civic, domestic, and literary spaces where Romans collected tokens of their multicultural empire played an important role in helping elites learn to value and negotiate difference. Dr. Pandey examined the early imperial triclinium as one such space by bringing material evidence to bear on Petronius’ Satyricon.

2019 AIA Lecture: The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project

Dr. Kroum Batchvarov with Augustana Classics faculty Kirsten Day and Emil Kramer.
Dr. Kroum Batchvarov with Augustana Classics faculty Kirsten Day and Emil Kramer.

As Augustana’s annual Archaeological Institute of America lecturer, Dr. Kroum Batchvarov presented a talk entitled, “The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project” on Wednesday, November 13th in the Blackbox Theater. In this lecture, Batchvarov overviewed his role in one of the largest maritime archaeological projects ever staged, where more than sixty wrecks dating from the 4th-5th century BC through the Ottoman period have been found and recorded using robotic laser scanning, acoustic, and photogrammetric techniques. The lecture drew students and faculty from Ambrose College in Davenport, Knox, and Monmouth Colleges in Illinois, as well as students and faculty from Augustana.

Beydler Talks Botanicals

On September 16, 2019, Katherine Beydler presented a lecture entitled “The Archaeology of Roman Medicine: A Botanical Perspective.” In this lecture, Beydler explained how the recovery and study of plant remains from archaeological contexts furthers the study of pharmacy and acts as an important supplement to literary sources. Beydler is a PhD candidate in Classical Studies at the University of Michigan: she will defend her dissertation on May 15th of this year, and has accepted a position as Assistant Director at the Center for Teaching at the University of Iowa.

Chris Saladin overviews his digital mapping project at the 2019 Celebration of Learning
Chris Saladin overviews his digital mapping project at the 2019 Celebration of Learning

Saladin Returns for Celebration of Learning

And finally, last spring at the invitation of the Classics Department, alumnus Chris Saladin (2017) presented a lecture for interested students, faculty, and staff during the 2019 Celebration of Learning. In his talk, entitled “City in Transition: Mapping the Transformation of Ancient Carthage,” Saladin discussed the digital mapping project he has been involved with as a PhD student in history at the University of Minnesota.


Other Classics Outreach

Illinois Classical Conference

Ancient weaving demonstration by Monmouth College's Adrienne Hagen.
Ancient weaving demonstration by Monmouth College's Adrienne Hagen.

During the weekend of October 12th and 13th, the Augustana Classics department hosted the 2019 Illinois Classical Conference, which brought together college and high school teachers and students from all over Illinois. Highlights included a workshop on the ancient Olympic games by Dr. Robert Simmons of Monmouth College, a demonstration on ancient weaving techniques by Dr. Adrienne Hagen, also of Monmouth, and a banquet and awards ceremony at Me & Billy’s Kitchen in Davenport. Other conference presentations included a keynote address, entitled “Making Vocabulary Stick,” by Dr. John Gruber-Miller of Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and a presentation on the Trojan horse in film by Augustana’s Kirsten Day. Many thanks are due to Dr. Emil Kramer for his hard work bringing this event to Augustana and making it a success!

Classic Onstage

Dr. Hooker as Dionysus, surrounded by a throng of his devoted bacchae.
Dr. Hooker as Dionysus, surrounded by a throng of his devoted bacchae.

Dr. Mischa Hooker has long participated in local theater groups such as the Genesius Guild, both onstage as an actor, and off as a member of the artistic committee. In the summer of 2019, he took a divine turn, playing the god Dionysus in the Genesius Guild’s production of The Bacchae. He encourages anyone who is in the Quad Cities for the summer to get involved! Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 crisis, the 2020 summer season has been canceled, but they are working on a way to bring you summer theater in a different way. Stay tuned, and for more information, see and

Augustana Classicists in the Wild

Shawn Geison, Kyler Gosset, Ezekiel Jakubowski, and Kellis Montgomery represented Collegia Classica at the Fall 2019 Activities Fair, where first-year students have an opportunity to learn about the many and varied student groups and clubs on campus. Collegia plans classics-themed activities and social events, free movie nights, and dinners to celebrate the end of each term. The group’s Homecoming Week Olympics has become a campus-wide favorite.

Classics Research on the Web

Using the Tredway Library’s new subscription to the LibGuides platform, our library liaison, Stefanie Bluemle, created a new guide for online classics research resources at Key Resources - Classics Resources. To reach the guide from the library home page, click "Research Guides" in the right-hand menu, then find it alphabetically. (NB: Some resources in the guide may require your Augustana login information.)

Alumni Updates

Katelyn Farrell '19 is working at John Deere as a staff accountant in their Financial Development Program. 
● David Hundrieser '19 will be entering the Master's program in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton in England this coming fall.
● Jordan Brown ’18 is a Banking Partnership Specialist at Square in St. Louis. He intends to pursue an MS in Data Analytics in the near future.
● Allan Daly '18 is a Data Scientist/Biostatistician for the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risks in Health at Tufts Medical Center.
● Ethan Doan ‘18 (Classics and Religion Majors) is currently pursuing his Master of Divinity degree at United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia and will graduate in 2022.
● Victoria Karnes '18 is a graduate teaching assistant in Classics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
● Eileen Ruppel-Doan ‘18 (Religion major, New Testament Greek and Graphic Design minors) is currently pursuing her Master of Divinity degree at United Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia. 
 Rachel Akmakjian ’16 is an account executive with M. Geller Ltd. in Chicago.
● Leah (Shelton) Berger ‘16 (Communication Sciences and Disorders and Religion majors, New Testament Greek minor) is currently working at the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center as an Associate Donor Relations Consultant. She is on a Leave of Absence from a Master of Divinity program at Harvard Divinity School.
● Diana Cleveland ‘17 (Classics and English majors) is currently working as a Content Marketing Specialist at EPAY Systems in Rolling Meadows, IL. She uses her Classics major everyday to help catch typos and copy edit dense materials.
● Steven Mondloch '17 is finishing his Master’s of Arts in Teaching Latin and Classical Humanities program at UMass Amherst and is seeking a teaching post in Latin for next year.
● Chris Saladin '17 is completing his PhD in History at the University of Minnesota, where he researches Roman cities, assists with GIS education in the humanities, and teaches courses on a wide range of premodern history.
● Kelly M. Haidinyak '15 is a Project Manager at MilliporeSigma in St. Louis.
● Shelby Stuparits '15 is pursuing her Masters in Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology and a certificate in Museum Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 
● Mason Kienzle '14 is an associate attorney at Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC in Chicago.
● Megan Alano Covey '14 is the Adult Program Specialist and a speech-language pathologist at Turning Point Autism Foundation in Naperville, IL. 
● Liz Johnson ’10 is a Compliance Specialist at Heritage Credit Union in Madison, WI.



We are enormously grateful for the continuing support and encouragement we receive from friends of department. Major funding comes from the Harry S.B. Johnson Fund, established by family and friends in honor of Harry S. B. Johnson, who was Dean of Men and Professor of Greek at Augustana from 1942-1964, and from the Terence Fund for Classics, established by former Augustana professor of Classics Jane Borelli. These gift funds help support lectures, banquets, and other events highlighted in this newsletter, and much, much more. Multas gratias vobis agimus!

mia lambert classics brick

Thanks as well go to our student donors Taylor Hayes ('19) and Kellis Montgomery ('22), and to Mia Lambert (‘20) for helping to represent Classics in a donor brick on the new addition to the Hanson Hall of Science. We appreciate your support! 

Postscript: Many thanks to Chris Sanders-Ring, administrative goddess for Classics, and our devoted student worker Ezekiel Jakubowski for their work on this newsletter! 

Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award winners announced

Kaitlin Jacobson's poem "crooked smile"” won the 23rd annual Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award at Augustana.

Kira Banks

A Classics case of an award-winning liberal arts experience

Kira Banks '23 came to Augustana to study biology and public health and, as often happens at a liberal arts school, discovered a passion for a seemingly unrelated major — Classics. Read about her recent award.

Dr. Emil Kramer receives lifetime achievement award

Dr. Emil Kramer has been honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Illinois Classical Conference (ICC), recognizing him for outstanding contributions to Classics in the state of Illinois.