RU’s historic 250th anniversary Commencement, Classics degrees and honors in review


It was a B1G day on the Banks for RU Classics on 15 May 2016 as Rutgers celebrated a super-commencement to mark its 250th anniversary! The site? Rutgers’ High Point Solutions Stadium, where approximately 52,000 people, including more than 12,000 graduates seated on the field, took in the pageantry and proceedings.

President Barack Obama received an honorary degree and delivered a riveting 45-minute address, in which—among many other points—he referenced the pub where our Department got its start in 1771.

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View of the President’s speech from the faculty section. Credit: Emily Allen-Hornblower

Congratulations to our Classics majors who received their degrees with the Class of 2016 at the School of Arts and Sciences Convocation that immediately followed the Commencement: Jessica Bailey, Matthew Klein, Oleksiy Lunhu, Daniel McCann, Margaret Morris, Michael Romero, Thi Trinh, Arya Vaseghi (who earned Departmental Honors), and Jennifer Yook.

And additional congratulations to our new PhD Katheryn Whitcomb, who joins the Classics faculty of Franklin & Marshall College next year as a visiting assistant professor. In the proceedings doctoral candidate David Wright also received a much-prized distinction, the degree of M. Phil.

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RU digging this? Classics undergraduates heading this summer to Rutgers field school in Italy

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The town of Vacone in NW Lazio, in the Sabina region of Italy. Credit: Villa Romana di Vacone Facebook page

Since 2012 Rutgers University, under the direction of Professor Gary Farney (Department of History, Rutgers—Newark), has conducted an Archaeological Field School in Italy.

The site could hardly be more evocative. It lies in the Tiber river valley in the northwestern part of the province of Lazio, about 40 miles upriver from Rome. Participants live and work near the small village of Vacone, excavating a Roman villa site with evidence of Republican, Imperial and post-antique occupation and activity. You can read all about it here.

So warm (indeed wild) congratulations are in order for three of our Rutgers—New Brunswick Classics undergraduate students, who will join the field school this summer: Jonathan Finnerty’17, Shannon Gilbert’18, and Molly Kuchler’18. Continue reading

What’s new at RU? Classics Dept sends its first Affiliated Fellow to the American Academy in Rome

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The 17th century Villa Aurelia of the American Academy in Rome, as seen from the AAR’s principal building, designed by McKim, Mead & White and opened in 1914

Well, this counts as major news. November 2015 saw us send a recent doctorate from our program—Benjamin Hicks, PhD 2011—to hold the first-ever Rutgers University Classics Affiliated Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome (AAR).

And now applications are invited for the next iteration of this dedicated fellowship in Rome, for academic year 2016-17.

We aim to send one or two members of the Rutgers Department of Classics community to the American Academy to conduct research that is connected to the city of Rome—its ancient material culture, ancient history and culture, and their reception.

Priority will be given to current Rutgers Classics PhD students, though current faculty in the Department of Classics and graduate alumni/ae of the Department are also eligible to apply. Continue reading

Forgotten images of 1930s Rome reappear at RU Classics


Morpurgo’s pavilion for the Ara Pacis in summer (?)1938 (note interior scaffolding)

The Rutgers Classics lantern slide collection consists of more than 1000 original exposures taken in the 1930s as part of archaeological research done in Italy, Greece, and Turkey, by faculty members of the New Jersey College for Women—now part of Rutgers and known as Douglass Residential College.

The collection—which we thought we completely digitized a decade ago—provides a glimpse into the NJC academic and teaching culture of the 1930s, as well as American women in archaeology and ancient history in the pre-World War II era. For the dramatic story of how these images came into being, and then reemerged after a half-century or more of neglect, see this article in the 20 February 2006 issue of Rutgers Focus.

Well, last month another 150+ lantern slides cropped up in the department’s study collection, enhancing one of the core strengths of the collection, namely images of Mussolini’s Rome in the late 1920s and 1930s.

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RU ready for Pope Francis’ visit to US? Rutgers Classics offers online course on Papacy


Father Bob Simon (Moscow PA) created this St Peter’s Basilica with 500,000 lego blocks, now on display at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. Credit: Darryl W Moran

It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the first visit of Pope Francis to the US, which starts today. Or at the very least—if you live in DC, Philly or NYC—it will be hard not to get caught up in the traffic jams.

As it happens, Rutgers Classics and the university’s School of Arts and Sciences have developed an interdisciplinary fully-online course on the history of the Papacy. It’s called ‘Papal Rome and its People: 1500-Present‘, and is formally listed as ARTS & SCIENCES INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES 01:556:251. RU Classics professor Corey Brennan first offered it in spring 2014, and will do so again in spring 2016 (expanding the course to encompass some important themes from the medieval period). Here’s the trailer:

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For RU Classics prof Emily Allen-Hornblower, tenure, promotion and a top teaching prize


Emily Allen-Hornblower, Associate Professor of Classics at Rutgers-New Brunswick

First things first. Mega-congratulations are very much in order for Rutgers Classics faculty member Emily Allen-Hornblower, who in spring 2015 received tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor. This brings the number of full-time tenured faculty in the Classics Department to seven, plus one additional tenured member with a joint appointment. Well done, to say the least!

But wait, there’s more. One of the most prized distinctions that Rutgers offers its newly tenured faculty members is the Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. The Fellowship, which includes the establishment of a special research account, honors outstanding teaching and scholarly work. In 2015 just five Presidential Fellowships were awarded across the entire University, i.e., our New Brunswick, Newark and Camden campuses.

One of the two 2015 recipients from the School of Arts & Sciences-New Brunswick was none other than Emily Allen-Hornblower—a significant first for Rutgers Classics. At a 5 May ceremony at the Rutgers Visitors Center, Allen-Hornblower was recognized by Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi “for her passionate dedication to teaching and mentoring, and her skillful guidance of class discussions, which allows students to discover for themselves how to find the answers to important questions.”

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At 249th anniversary commencement, RU Classics celebrates its 2015 graduates

Classics 2014 Posing as we file in for SAS convocation

Rutgers Classics’15, accompanied by undergraduate director Professor Emily Allen-Hornblower, take the first seats at the School of Arts & Sciences convocation

First, some numbers. An estimated 16,465 graduates received degrees from Rutgers at graduation ceremonies on 17 May of this year, the 249th since the founding of the university in 1766. Baccalaureate degrees accounted for 10,593 of the 2015 total, give or take a few. Master’s degrees added up to 3,951; doctorates another 1,919.

Many of the graduating students assembled at High Point Solutions Stadium had good reason to feel lost in a crowd. But that wasn’t the case for those from Rutgers Classics, which proudly contributed .0007% of the day’s degree recipients. Though enrollments for the largest classes in our department frequently push capacity, the language-based major and the graduate degrees remain a highly personalized experience, with intensive teaching and close advisement in the best liberal arts tradition.


Rutgers Classics’15—and their undergraduate director—about to take the field at High Point Solutions Stadium

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