Thursday, January 5, 2012

Forging a Centurion, Part IV

It only seems right that I post this next installment on a day when I have been doing Classics research at Indiana University. Whenever I have a Classics research need, I head to the Main Library at IU. If I have a Classics-related question, chances are good my first email is to a friend on the fifth floor of Ballantine Hall, the home of Indiana University Classical Studies. As I have often told my parents over the years, their putting me through college has produced dividends that far outlasted their four-year investment. My wonderful experience of IU Classics, however, almost never happened.

I enrolled as a freshman at IU with several scholarships under my belt, including ones from the Indiana Junior Classical League and the National Latin Exam. A placement exam I took during freshman orientation, however, said that I earned no credit in Latin. I explained to the advisor that I had several Latin scholarships and was planning to be a Latin teacher. He double-checked the scores, and there had been a computer glitch that cut all the scores in half. I actually had earned enough credit to start my first year of college Latin in a 300-level Cicero course.

That first course was with Prof. Betty Rose Nagle. I was fortunate to continue my study with Prof. Ted Ramage for Livy, Prof. James Halporn for Latin prose composition, Prof. Eleanor Leach for Horace and Catullus, Prof. Louis Perraud (now at the University of Idaho) for Plautus and Terence and again for Ovid/Propertius/Tibullus/Catullus, Prof. Mark Damen (now at Utah State University) for Vergil's Eclogues and Georgics, Prof. Tim Long for Greek, and Prof. Betty Rose Nagle for Ovid. It is interesting that the first and last Latin classes I took at IU were both taught by Prof. Nagle.

Not only did my appreciation and passion for Classical Studies grow by leaps and bounds with such instructors, but I gained long-lasting professional relationships. I have remained in contact with Professors Long, Nagle, and Leach over the years, and both Long and Leach attended the wedding when I married the girl I had met in Prof. Halporn's class. My friendship with Tim Long is truly one of the treasured parts of my life. As I have acknowledged elsewhere, he has been a teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend, and I was very happy when we established a scholarship in his name at North Central High School.

After graduation with a B.A. with honors in Classical Studies, I immediately went into teaching and soon after pursued graduate work, all of which will be the subjects of upcoming posts. To this day, however, I can say that IU Classical Studies prepared me well to live my dream, and it is to its resources and to its faculty in Ballantine Hall that I still return as I continue to learn and grow in the greatest discipline within the liberal arts.

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