Alumni and Friends

CleopatraposterGuangzhouDear Alumni and Friends,

As 2014 begins, I am writing as the new Chair of the UCLA Department of Classics to share with you some recent news.

The faculty is changing. Last fall we welcomed our new Assistant Professor, Francesca Martelli, from Oxford whose research interests focus on questions of authorship in Latin literature (Cicero as letter-writer and Ovid the elegiac love poet, most prominently). We also said good-bye to colleagues who retired (Sander Goldberg and Ann Bergren) or moved to another position (Shane Butler, Professor of Latin, University of Bristol).

Let me share with you just a few departmental changes or continuations. David Blank stepped down as Department Chair after five years and has enjoyed getting back to his edition and commentary on Philodemus’ Rhetoric. Brent Vine continues to serve as Graduate Advisor and Amy Richlin as Post-Baccalaureate Advisor. Alex Purves and David Blank replace me as co-Undergraduate Advisors. Mario Telò was granted tenure and promoted to Associate Professor. Sarah Morris and John Papadopoulos began a new archaeological project of survey and excavation at ancient Methone in northern Greece (from the final Neolithic age to its destruction in 354 B.C. by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great). Kathy McDonnell returned from a year’s leave and in November Chris Johanson, our new appointment in Digital Humanities and our own Ph.D., became a father.

Our graduate students continue to work hard to finish their graduate studies and prosper. Among our most recent Ph.Ds., Michael Brumbaugh gained a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor at Tulane University, and Brian Walters has achieved the same at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Robert Groves is a visiting lecturer at the University of Arizona, and Charles Stein is teaching as a lecturer in our department. Kathy Piller was a student in the summer seminar at the American Numismatic Society and traveled to coin collections in London, Oxford and Rome on a Lenart Fellowship. Hilary Lehman returned from a year of study at the American School of Classical Studies. And this year we welcomed five new graduate students to our program.
Amy Richlin is delighted to report as Advisor that our Post-Baccalaureate Programs in Classics and in Latin completed their seventeenth year in style, placing twelve of the twelve students who applied for them in funded graduate programs; four other students have decided to remain in the program for a second year. And we are especially proud that students in the early years of our program are now tenured faculty. Lauri Reitzammer is now Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The undergraduate program in Classical Civilization remains robust and growing. Last year we had another record number of students enrolled in our undergraduate courses, just shy of reaching 2900 students. Twenty years ago, we were at half this number. Our courses in General Education continue to attract students from across the campus, especially from South Campus. Mario Telò and Brent Vine are teaching our capstone seminars, on the ancient novel and languages of the Mediterranean, respectively. Last June, we gave out the twelfth annual Caldwell awards (named in honor of Helen F. Caldwell who taught in our department for 30 years). Recipients for the Major award were Eric Lakin and Erika Schulz, and for the Minor, Harish Dharmarajan and Lucas Tejwani. In October, we bestowed the Caldwell Prizes for outstanding achievement in our elementary language courses. Stephen Milburn won the Greek Prize, and Austin Jeremiah “Sy” Clark and Qianchao “Victoria” Tan won the Latin Prizes. Qianchao is our first recipient from mainland China, an Engineering major who chose to study Latin (her third language) as a freshman. And this spring I will be inaugurating the first faculty exchange in Ancient Studies between UCLA and Fudan University in Shanghai. I will be teaching a mini-seminar on ancient biography to Chinese graduate students in World History. Classics has indeed become a global study in the 21st century.

Finally, the Department and I extend to you our best wishes for the new year. Thank you for your continued support and generosity to our programs. And I invite you to contact me to learn more about departmental events or to share your news.


Robert Gurval
Associate Professor and Chair
UCLA Department of Classics