Department Newsletter 2018-2019

Classics Header

Annual Department Newsletter 2018-2019 



Greetings from the chair note


professor and dept chair mary pendergraft

Greetings from the Department of Classics at Wake Forest University!

As we are eagerly looking forward to the arrival of new students and the beginning of a new semester very soon, it’s satisfying to look back on a busy and productive year for the Department.

We hosted the biennial meeting of CAMWS’ Southern Section and a year-long series of visiting speakers (in person and virtually) in a series called “Classics beyond Europe.” Professor Ted Gellar-Goad earned promotion and tenure and supervised a travel and study course in Greece as soon as the semester was over. Our students continue to flourish; three of our majors were inducted into Phi Beta Kappa this spring. One of them, Karen Gusmer, presented the award-winning paper at the national Eta Sigma Phi convention.  You’ll find lots of information about these activities in the Newsletter.

We have great plans for the upcoming year, too. This year we will host the international conference Feminism & Classics 2020 in addition to another series of outstanding guest speakers.

We always welcome your news and the opportunity to share it.  Even more, we’d love to see you in person when you’re in the neighborhood!

With all good wishes,

Mary Pendergraft

faculty news and awards


ACL logoMary Pendergraft leads American Classical League

Mary Pendergraft, Professor and Chair of the Classics Department, was elected as President of the American Classical League. As part of her two-year term, which began July 1, 2018, she will lead the organization that promotes classical studies to the public.


loeb classical

Loeb Classical Foundation Fellowship Award 

Professors Emily Austin (Philosophy) and T. H. M. Gellar-Goad (Classics) were awarded the major Loeb Classical Foundation Fellowship! This award is in support of the conference they are organizing, Feminism & Classics 2020, to be hosted by Wake Forest in May 2020.  The LCLF is the major granting agency in the discipline of Classics, and its fellowships are highly competitive.

professor amy lather


Professor Amy Lather to be Resident Fellow at CHS

Professor Amy Lather will be a resident fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies (CHS) for a month this fall. The CHS is sponsored by Harvard University and is located in Washington DC. Each year the center brings together a cohort of about 10-15 resident fellows to live and work in the same setting on respective research projects. While Professor Lather is there, her focus will be researching and writing the final chapters of her book, Materiality and Aesthetics in Archaic and Classical Greek Poetry. 

Read more about the achievements from our faculty from this past year by clicking here. 


promotions title card

gellar-goad tenure reception
T. H. M. Gellar-Goad was promoted to Associate 
Professor of Classics with tenure at Wake Forest! These pictures were taken at the Tenure & Promotion Champagne Reception held in April.  Professor Gellar-Goad is pictured to the left with Provost Rogan Kersh.




student news title

Spotlight on 2019 Graduates

Click a student’s name to read more about their plans for after graduation, their happiest memory from the department, and what they will miss the most.
parker lustig in rome

Karen Gusmer

Parker Lustig 

Cole Teander 

Katherine Phillips

William Morgan

Ian Buckley

Joseph Davis

Lanie Miliotes

Eta Sigma Phi 

eta sigma phi 2018-2019 officers
Eta Sigma Phi officers from the 2018-19 year!  
  • President: Karen Gusmer 
    Vice President: Sawyer Jones
    Secretary: Parker Lustig
    Treasurer: Katherine Phillips 
    Sergeant in Arms: William Morgan
    (From left to right: Katherine Phillips, Karen Gusmer, William Morgan, Parker Lustig, Sawyer Jones)
Student Awards 
student anna campbellThe Andronica Award, given to newly declared majors, went to Anna Campbell (’21) and Jonathan Henkel (’21). Anna, who is majoring in Latin and Mathematical Business, also received the William Royall Travel Award to support her participation in the Paideia Institute in Rome this summer. Anna recently finished her study with the program and says, “It was an incredible experience that somehow exceeded my expectations. I was exposed to so many types of Latin and enjoyed every minute of my time in Rome….I felt like my Classics classes at Wake really prepared me for this trip, and especially helped me contribute to class discussions. I am very lucky to study Latin at Wake Forest and I’m excited to have two years left.”


Karen Gusmer (’19) and Sawyer Jones (’19) received the M. D. Phillips Award for excellence in classics; they were the first students to earn the new degree Classical Languages with Latin Emphasis. 


Click here to read more exciting student news! 


department talks

Each semester, the Department of Classical Languages hosts several events that feature work-in-progress talks by our faculty members and also bring distinguished scholars to campus in person or via video conferencing for lectures and seminars. This year we brought professors from UCLA, Brown University, University of Richmond, Wayne State University, Yale University, and Hamilton College.


emily greenwood teleconference

On March 27, Emily Greenwood, Chair and Professor of Classics at Yale University, gave a talk on Wednesday about death and remembrance in Classical and Afro-Caribbean literature. Whereas in ancient Greece and Rome, elite dead were commemorated primarily through stone monuments and not through the physical bones themselves, in the Afro-Caribbean literary imagination the bones — present or lost at sea — serve as a site of memory and recovery of experiences erased by colonizers and slaveholders. Afro-Caribbean authors such as Derek Walcott and Marlene Nourbese Philip fragment, decompose, and recompose the Classical corpus (“body” of texts) to give voice to persons and subjectivities silenced by white imperialist history. The title of her talk was “Dismembered Classics and the Bones of History in Anglophone Caribbean Poetry.”

ronnick presentationOn March 1st, A sizable crowd of students, faculty, and community guests assembled to learn from Proculloquium Classicum speaker Michele Valerie Ronnick about African American Classicists in North Carolina from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. Among the historical luminaries Professor Ronnick discussed were Anna Julia Cooper, born into slavery in Raleigh, the first formerly enslaved person to earn a doctorate at the Sorbonne, a skillful researcher and teacher of Greek and Latin andan advocate for women’s equal access to education, in North Carolina and across the country; Orishatukeh Faduma, who came to North Carolina from Sierra Leone; and Charlotte Hawkins Brown, born in Henderson, and innovative leader of the Alice Freedman Palmer Memorial Institute, which taught Latin and college-preparatory curricula to African American students at a time when white supremacists in our state disapproved of such studies for Black students.  Her talk was titled “Black Classicism in North Carolina: From Wiley Lane (1852-1885) to Helen Maria Chesnutt (1880-1969).”

Read more about this year’s department talks by clicking here! 


dept events titles

The Wake Forest University Classics Department hosted The 98th Anniversary Meeting of the Classical Association of the Middle, West and South: Southern Section (CAMWS-SS) on October 18-20, 2018. The efforts of the Classics Dept and other WFU departments made it possible to host a small and engaged conference on topics in the ancient world.

Presentations characteristically are followed by questions and discussions and often suggest new areas for examination or new ideas to consider. The conference drew approximately 150 participants from 27 states and two Canadian universities, and one third of them were attending for their first time. Wake Forest presenters included an undergraduate student, a graduate now in a PhD program, and faculty members whose time here ranges from less than a semester to over twenty years.

camws-ssTo single out one example of the value of such a meeting: Prof. T. H. M. Gellar-Goad (WFU) organized a panel, “Wound and Wounded Bodies in Propertius: Autopsy of an Elegiac Corpus.” Characteristically for this genre, violence and its interaction with sexuality was the focus of three of the four papers. The respondent, Dr. Caitlin Hines (WFU), explored the parallels between the behaviors highlighted by the speakers and those that contemporary scholars have identified as characteristic of domestic abuse. She foresees this area as a productive held for additional exploration.

camws-ss reception


This conference provided a venue for discussion and interaction among scholars at various stages in their careers, something valuable in itself. The fruit that such discussions will bear in the future is incalculable.

(Photos by David Rosen)



Check out all the exciting events the department hosted this year by clicking here! 

alumns news title

mary sommerville

Classical Languages alumna Mary Somerville (’15) has been awarded the Hahn Scholarship for study in Rome this summer! The scholarship is awarded to a member of CAAS (the Classical Association of the Atlantic States) to help cover the cost of Classical Summer School at the American Academy in Rome. The Classical Summer School is a six-week program designed for graduate students, mature undergraduates, K-12 (mostly middle and high school) teachers, and college instructors to gain a well-founded understanding of the growth and development of the city of Rome. More information about the scholarship can be found here:  Congratulations, Mary! 

juilee former student


Juilee Shivalkar (’18, Classical Studies Minor) will be attending NYU Law this fall as a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar! “The Greek classes I took came up in a couple of my admissions interviews, and it was really awesome to look back and talk about all the reading we did in class!  If you have any other aspiring lawyers in your classes, let them know that admissions officers really DO think Greek is an interesting class that not enough students take.”  Congratulations, Juilee!


Click here to read more alumns news! 


title card

day 9Professor T. H. M. Gellar-Goad went overseas this summer to lead a WFU-sponsored Greece study-abroad program!  Click this link here to see photos from the trip. 




have a great summer

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