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Reflection on four years at Holy Cross by Stephanie Neville ’17

June 4th, 2017 by tjoseph

During the 2017 Commencement Week, Classics major Stephanie Neville ’17 read the following reflection to classmates at the senior luncheon. Stephanie, who is from Grand Island, NY, began the study of Latin and Greek at Holy Cross and was a four-year member of the Manuscripts, Inscriptions, and Documents Club. This summer Stephanie will continue her internship at Dovetail Internet Technologies in Worcester, and in the fall she will begin as a law student at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, VA.

Beginning on move-in day at Holy Cross, we were encouraged to Live the Mission. We were told to be men and women for others. And as first year students we nodded and went along with it because I do not think that any of us truly understood what those phrases meant at the time. For each of us, however, as we spent our days trekking between buildings on Mt. St. James, we came to understand the significance of those words in a different way, and we came to see how we could apply these terms to our everyday lives.

In my own experience, I came to understand these words in my attempt to create a college bucket list, as I imagine many of us attempted at one point or another. Early on during my Holy Cross career, I jotted down a list of 25 tasks, some more generic than others, that I hoped to complete before I graduated. I then saved my list so I could return to it and mark off those experiences as necessary. Spoiler alert, I never completed all of the tasks on that list.

Not long after I made this list, I felt that something was just not quite right about it. While studying outside in the Hoval and finding the fourth floor of the science building, as a humanities major, were interesting experiences, these did not seem to mean as much to me as the small yet meaningful moments that I increasingly experienced as I met more people on the Hill. So, as a typical Holy Cross student would, since my first list just did not live up to my expectations of what I had hoped it would be, I did the only logical thing: I made a second list. Although this list was a little different from my first, it was something my roommate and I referred to as a nectar list. Whenever I had a new and often unanticipated experience in my life that I felt had meaning to me, I wrote it down in a list. Pretty soon, I had recorded over two hundred moments that I might have otherwise forgotten, like that time the RA knocked on my door on a school night because my roommate and I sang along to Les Mis a little too enthusiastically or the first time one of my professors invited me to office hours just to talk with me about how I was enjoying my classes so far.

Stephanie (second from left) with classmates Drew Virtue, Melody Wauke, and Charlie Schufreider during Commencement festivities.

Looking back at the moments I included on my nectar list, it is clear that the experiences that seemed to mean the most were the everyday and even mundane moments that I had the pleasure of sharing with all kinds of people that I was able to meet. We can all think of people who helped to make our college experience meaningful for us, of the passerby who became a mentor, of strangers who became family. Years from now, when we look back at our time in college, of course we are going to remember those monumental experiences we had, such as when we boarded a plane to study abroad or when we formally declared our major. But when we reflect on what this time actually meant to us and how it shaped the people we are today, we are going to think of the fleeting moments we shared with people who have come to mean the world to us. We are going to think of scouting out tables in Dinand, of asking a friend to swipe us into a dorm when we lost our ID, of waiting in line on chicken parm night at Kimball.

And when we look back at those small moments, those will be the moments that we can look back upon to see how much we’ve grown. When I look back at my list, I am able to see a progression of a timid freshman who fell on the Fenwick stairs on to a more seasoned and a much more comfortable Holy Cross student who tried my hand at cooking in the apartments and who ventured to explore the area around Holy Cross like the Worcester Art Museum, the Blackstone movie theater with discount movie Tuesdays, and other areas of New England that I had never visited.

By choosing to embrace our identity as Holy Cross students, we have already begun to Live the Mission. By immersing ourselves in this incredible community in whatever ways we have found ourselves called, we have played a role both in shaping each other’s experiences and in growing as individuals. Even the smallest moments we have shared with friends or acquaintances on campus or in the Worcester community can have an impact, as we never can fully comprehend how our words or gestures can take effect. Even a passing smile or an open door can make all the difference to someone. At Holy Cross, we have learned how to be open to sharing those moments with those we have been blessed to have around us. As a class, we have served as orientation leaders, served as club leaders, congratulated our classmates who have won Fulbrights or secured jobs, and proofread essays for our peers. In whatever way the opportunity has presented itself, we have learned to support each other, and we have learned how to extend those gestures of support to those beyond the Holy Cross community. Many of us have participated in international or domestic service trips, have served as big brothers and sisters, and have led fundraisers.

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve put in a lot of hard work into our education, our relationships, and our growth as men and women for others. But this is only one milestone in our journey. As we move forward to the next phase of our lives, we must continue to embrace the small moments in life and recognize the beauty in sharing these with the people around us. With this mindset, we can be open to new experiences and to reaching out to new people. With this mindset, we can continue to expand our own definitions of what it means to Live the Mission and to be men and women for others. What are the small moments that you have experienced at Holy Cross that have shaped who you are today and who you want to be?

Eta Sigma Phi’s “Homerathon” brings the Odyssey alive on campus

April 25th, 2017 by tjoseph

Michael Kelley ’18, Melody Wauke ’17, Charlie Schufreider ’17, Hanna Seariac ’20, Jeffrey Dickinson ’19, and Allyn Waller ’18 at the Homerathon donation table.

On Wednesday, April 19, the student Classics society Eta Sigma Phi hosted the College’s first Homerathon, a daylong reading of all twenty-four books of Homer’s Odyssey to the campus community. The event, which took place in the Hogan Oval, was a fundraiser for Ascentria Care Alliance, a local organization devoted to immigrant and refugee resettlement.

For more on the event, see:

*the story in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, titled “Epic tale: Entire Odyssey read at Holy Cross to benefit refugees

*the piece on the Holy Cross news site, titled: “Holy Cross Takes on Sirens and Cyclopes with Marathon Reading of the ‘Odyssey’

*a timelapse of the first several hours of the Homerathon on YouTube

Liam O’Toole ’20 braves the elements, Odysseus-like, as he reads from the Odyssey.

 

Classics Day tributes to Ms. Toni Methe

April 22nd, 2017 by tjoseph

On April 6, 2017, the Holy Cross Classics Department and the student society Eta Sigma Phi hosted our 45th annual Classics Day, with hundreds of high school students from around New England gathering for a day of Classically themed competitions and events. Click here for the Holy Cross news story on the day.

Toni at the tribute ceremony in the Hogan Ballroom

This year we honored Ms. Antoinette “Toni” Methe, the administrative assistant in Classics, on the occasion of her last Classics Day. Toni has worked at Holy Cross since 1974 and in the Classics Department since 1990. She has organized Classics Day for the last 27 years. Students signed posters for Toni and the Hogan Ballroom full of students resounded with cheers of “Gratias tibi, Toni!” We also read tributes to Toni from four alums of the Department. We print those tributes here:

Michael Russo ‘15

This is Michael Russo, graduate of the class of 2015, writing to you now as a middle school Latin teacher from Texas. I am saddened to know that the Fenwick 4 that I knew will never be the same. I cannot even imagine what the Department of Classics at Holy Cross will be like without you, Toni. You have been its administrative secretary of decades, its longstanding and true bedrock. Your consummate ability to marshal people and resources and to spearhead and organize the annual Classics Day on the campus for countless years has helped make The College of the Holy Cross a local, state and national giant in the promotion of the study and appreciation of the Classics. I will never forget your very friendly and hospitable personality or your constant commitment to the good and proper management of the department and the well-being of its majors (or your operatic voice or love for cats!) On behalf of all Holy Cross Classics majors, I wish you the best health and most happiness that anyone could ever have.

Deborah Sokolowski ‘14

Toni was one of the first people I ever met at Holy Cross, when she kindly helped me–a VERY lost freshman–find my first Latin classroom. I was fortunate enough to see her kindness almost every day in the department, and I especially enjoyed working with Toni to prepare for Classics Day — I say “with” because, even though Toni always had the event planned down to the last detail, she always took the time to explain schedules to us, which she had carefully planned out well in advance so that everything ran smoothly.  I especially had fun working the sign in table with her, as many returning teachers and students either knew her as Holy Cross alums, or had come to know her over the years as the “brains behind the whole operation.” Toni’s hard work not only during Classics Day, but daily in the department, made everyone feel welcome and excited to be a part of the Classics community!

Lee Fratantuono ‘95

Toni Methe for years now has been the heart and soul of Holy Cross Classics.  Who can forget her wisdom, humor, kindness and generous help?  She guided so many student workers, majors, and friends of the Classics Department through so much.  She was a master of organizing the many and varied activities of the department, not least with her meticulously crafted flyers and posters…a vintage collection of which I fondly keep in my own office desk. She served a special, extraordinary role as travel secretary to the late, much missed Ken Happe on his many world travels, helping to share news of his adventures with his friends and colleagues.  Toni will never be replaced and always be remembered.  Her legacy of service to Holy Cross Classics is well deserved and assured.

William Ziobro ’66 (Professor Emeritus in Classics)

For well over 30 years I had the pleasure to work with Toni on planning many events for the Holy Cross Classics Department – from that of the Bean Scholarship to different Lecture Series. There was no event, or program, however, that Toni made more “her own” than Classics Day. She took complete ownership of the Day, from its early planning every year, to organizing the participation of Holy Cross Classics majors, to all internal contact at the College, and all external contact with so many schools throughout New England. She was the prime reason why Classics Day has grown from about 100 hundred students to 400 or 500 students. In the background of every chariot race, every lunch reservation, every security arrangement – the list goes on and on – Toni was the driving force. Thank you, Toni, for making this day so memorable for all the guests whom you have so cordially welcomed to the Holy Cross campus. Yours has been a job exceptionally well done. Congratulations!

Eric Adler speaks on the place of the Classics in American higher education

November 21st, 2016 by tjoseph

On Thursday, October 20, Eric Adler, Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Maryland, delivered at talk at Holy Cross titled “The Transformation of Humanism and the Fate of Classical Studies in America.” The talk was followed by a lively question and answer session, and a group of Classics majors and faculty continued the discussion with Prof. Adler over dinner.

The talk and dinner were sponsored by the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture. The McFarland Center has posted a video of the talk and the Q and A that followed here. And here is the video from YouTube:

Thomas Köntges presents on Petronian puzzles and possibilities

October 4th, 2016 by tjoseph

Thomas Köntges of Leipzig University in Germany visited Holy Cross on September 29 and 30 to speak with students from Prof. Neel Smith’s “Digital Reading and Writing” course and Prof. Tim Joseph’s “Literature in the Age of Nero” course, as well as members of the Manuscripts, Inscriptions, and Documents Club.

In his talk titled “Quid novi: a story of five centuries of Petronius research and me,” Prof. Köntges shared his work on the manuscript tradition of Petronius’ fragmentary first-century CE prosimetric novel Satyrica. He emphasized the new possibilities for research that result from recent access to digital photographs of early manuscripts.

students

Students take in the discussion of the elaborate manuscript tradition of the Satyrica. Photo by Prof. Ellen Perry.

 

koentges

Prof. Köntges and Prof. Smith at the outset of the talk. Photo by Prof. Ellen Perry.

 

Prof. Martin in the land of the Helvetii

September 21st, 2016 by tjoseph

Earlier this month Prof. Tom Martin was an invited participant in an international workshop on “Josephus Latinus” held at the University of Bern, Switzerland. He and his co-author Prof. David Levenson of the Dept. of Religion at Florida State University made a presentation on their research on Latin manuscripts of the ancient translations of the original Greek works of Flavius Josephus from the first century CE. Their research concentrates on Josephus’ work The Jewish War, an eyewitness account of the famous story of the rebellion in Judaea against Roman control that led to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Students at Holy Cross and FSU made significant contributions to this scholarship through their work in a joint undergraduate/graduate seminar taught in the fall of 2014 simultaneously at both institutions using video conferencing.

In the photo, Prof. Martin is shown in Bern by the light of the full moon illuminating the House of Parliament of Switzerland, known by its Latin title visible just below the pediment of the building as CURIA CONFOEDERATIONIS HELVETICAE. Calling the Swiss people Helvetii goes back to Julius Caesar’s Gallic War, while curia was the Romans’ designation for their Senate House.

Wide-ranging lineup of Classics presentations at 2016 Academic Conference

May 24th, 2016 by tjoseph
Ac 1

Michael Shun ’18, Nick Guarracino ’18, Allyn Waller ’18, and Julia Spiegel ’19.

This year’s academic conference launched on Wednesday, April 27, when senior Classics and Catholic Studies major Joseph MacNeill gave his Fenwick Scholar presentation, titled  “Encountering God as Logos: A Postmodern Theology.” Click here for more on Joe’s presentation and here to read about the reading group that Joe formed in the fall.

On Thursday Maggie MacMullin ’16, a Classics major with a minor in Visual Arts, spoke about “Meaning and Making in the Holy Cross Art Department.” Three other seniors presented on their thesis research: Steven Merola ’16 presented “Apologetic Epinoiai: Christ as Light and Wisdom in Origen’s Contra Celsum“; Christopher Ryan ’16 spoke about “A Contemporary Understanding of Free Will in Augustinian Death”; and William Callif ’16, a double-major in Classics and Political Science, addressed “Montesquieu and the Republic.”

Friday afternoon’s events included four presentations by groups in the Manuscripts, Inscriptions, and Documents Club. Nicholas Guarracino ’18, Michael Shun ’18, Julia Spiegel ’19, and Allyn Waller ’18 addressed their study of Gregorian chant in the presentation “Neumes: Notation and Abbreviation in Tenth-Century Chant Manuscripts.” For more on this group’s ongoing work, click here.

AC 5

Liam Prendergast ’19, Kevin Cogan ’19 & Zach Sowerby ’19

Three presentations covered work on the Homer Multitext project: “Observations on Scholia to Iliad 17 in the Venetus A manuscript” by Michael Kelley ’18, Corey Scannell ’18, and Melody Wauke ’17; “Validation and Verification in the Homer Multitext Project” by Chris Ryan ’16 and Alex Simrell ’16; and “Mysteries in the Escorial Omega 1.12 manuscript of the Iliad” by Kevin Cogan ’19, Liam Prendergast ’19, and Zachary Sowerby ’19. Claude Hanley ’18 and Charlie Schufreider ’17 spoke about the Kanones system, which they have assisted Prof. Neel Smith in developing, in a presentation titled “Developing a Corpus-Specific Ancient Greek Parser.”

Jalbert

Nick Jalbert ’16

Friday’s events concluded with a reading – to a packed room – by Nicholas Jalbert ’16, from his novel manuscript In Sacred Flame. The reading was followed by a lively discussion of the ancient and modern influences on Nick’s characters and themes.

 

 

Photos from the Spring 2016 semester

May 24th, 2016 by tjoseph
Aristophanes class

End-of-the-semester symposium of Prof. John Hamilton’s Aristophanes class, which read Lysistrata and Frogs.

Induction (1)

Eta Sigma Phi President Meagan Freeze ’16 presides over the induction of new members into the society.

April 30

Prof. Tim Joseph, Corey Scannell ’18, Melody Wauke ’17, Fr. John Baldovin ’69 of Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, and Charlie Schufreider ’17 at a College event.

Roman Sculpture

Prof. Ellen Perry’s Roman Sculpture class dresses as the Romans did.

Drawing connections between Latin grammar & photographic grammar

March 1st, 2016 by tjoseph

In February students in Introduction to Latin 2 visited the Cantor Art Gallery to visit Prof. Matthew Gamber’s exhibition Grammar, which explored the rules that govern the medium of photography. The exhibition included a variety of photographs in different styles. Prof. Gamber gave a brief introduction to the group; and students considered how their study of Latin grammar might inform their understanding of this exhibit – and vice versa. Here is the reflection by Melissa Gryan ’18.

Photography is a language that operates through images, and Latin is a language that operates through written and spoken words. In both cases, grammar facilitates creativity.

In visual images, grammar often goes unnoticed. In a two-dimensional space, aspects such as values, ground lines, and scale communicate the amount of light, the light source, distance, and size. Rules for constructing images create a methodology for understanding something abstract.

Hannah Nguyen '19, Melissa Gryan '18, and Tori Jackson '18 discuss Matthew Gamber's 3D photograph 'Stanford Bunny.'

Hannah Nguyen ’19, Melissa Gryan ’18, and Tori Jackson ’18 discuss Matthew Gamber’s 3D photograph ‘Stanford Bunny.’

Professor Gamber discussed how composition influences our perception. He explained that black and white photos are often associated with documentation and facts, although this assumption is often an underlying one that is not explicitly expressed. When viewing the exhibit as a whole, which in a way is a type of image, the arrangement forms another layer of rules that tell viewers how to process the artwork presented to them. The relative proximity of images can imply association between pictures, or spotlighting can signal importance.

Latin operates similarly. The grammar works as a necessary structure to communicate ideas. We have learned the importance of case, tense, and voice, so that we can understand the meaning and function of each word in a sentence. At this point in Latin we are learning the structure. Although confining at the moment, it is ultimately freeing. Grammar allows Latin authors to do with literature what Prof. Gamber does with photographs. These rules act as a conduit through which the combinations of words can express countless thoughts and ideas – giving a space in which to express and exchange ideas.

The masters of these rules of language can use them to create art, through poetry and prose, which communicates to its readers with precision and elegance. We have seen glimpses in the passages we have translated, especially from the Aeneid, where the positioning and placement of words and the ideas communicated employ the necessary rules of grammar to convey a delicate, carefully constructed image. Without the support and structure of grammar, Virgil would have no framework in which to convey his story.

At this point, our study of Latin is the beginning of a process, while the exhibition Grammar is the end product of an analogous process. The results of Grammar help us envision the application of Latin grammar, and anticipate the endpoint of the artistry of Latin literature.

Life after Fenwick 4: alums reflect on their Classical education

February 26th, 2016 by tjoseph

On Thursday, February 18, three Holy Cross Classics alums returned to campus to discuss how their education in Greek and Latin has informed their lives after college. Meg Moran ’08, a human resources executive at Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey, Ryan O’Malley ’09, an elected representative on the city council in Malden, Mass., and Colin Clark ’11, a film and television production professional in New York, reflected back on their paths since graduation and shared some wisdom with current students.

Meg Moran '08, Colin Clark '11, and Ryan O'Malley '09

Meg Moran ’08, Colin Clark ’11, and Ryan O’Malley ’09

Ryan, who worked in real estate and project management before his successful election bid this past November, singled out the semester he spent in Rome among its age-old monuments – many of which still survive and function. His public service now includes infrastructure planning, and he draws on that time in Rome when thinking about lasting solutions. “Those of us who studied ancient Rome and Greece are better prepared to look at things from a longer perspective,” said Ryan. “We think not in quarters or years, but in decades, centuries, and millennia.”

Meg, who went on to earn an MBA at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, highlighted how her Classics major has always distinguished her from others in her field. One distinguishing factor she emphasized was her ability to read things closely. “In my first internship I became known as the person who could read and edit documents with a critical eye,” she said. “Little details – little mistakes – matter, and that was something instilled in me during my Greek and Latin courses.”

Meg talks with Maggie MacMullin '16.

Meg chats with Maggie MacMullin ’16.

Colin, who has worked on television shows such as HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and films such as the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, echoed Meg’s thoughts. “My Latin and Greek courses were a mental boot camp. The structure of sentences and of language is ingrained in the heads of Classics majors – whether we want it or not!” said Colin. “I’ve been able to use these ingrained reading and editing skills for reviewing production materials.”

Colin talks with Prof. John Hamilton, whose course on the Roman satirist Juvenal has informed the stand-up comedy that Colin does along with his film production work.

Colin talks with Prof. John Hamilton, whose course on the Roman satirist Juvenal has informed the stand-up comedy that Colin does in New York, along with his film production work.

During the Q-and-A discussion with current students, Ryan brought up another habit of mind that unites Classics majors – and that has daily relevance for his work in government. “Classics majors are inquisitive people. We’re the types who get excited about the discovery of a lost scroll,” he said. “And this can spread to all aspects of our lives. We’re the ones asking more questions and deeper questions.”