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Chair’s Annual Letter

James B. Rives
Kenan Eminent Professor

This has been a year of changes for the Department, as seems in fact to be the case every year.  This year, I am pleased to report, most of them have been positive, although there are inevitably some losses as well as gains.  In April, our colleague Luca Grillo announced that he will be resigning as of this summer in order to join the Department of Classics at the University of Notre Dame, where his wife Jennie has been offered a very good position in the Department of Theology.  Notre Dame’s gain will of course be our loss, since Luca has made outstanding contributions to the department in his time with us and would have continued to do so for years to come.  But I am glad that we were able to benefit from his presence for as long as we did, and we wish him and Jennie and their two daughters all the best in the next phase of their lives.  Read more >>


Introducing Patricia Rosenmeyer, George L. Paddison Professor of Classics

I am originally from Seattle, but spent much of my childhood in Berkeley, where I was exposed to ancient languages and cultures in the high school classroom of an inspirational Latin teacher.  So many of us in academia are set off on our career paths by great teachers!  I suspect, however, that teaching was always in my blood; not only was I a faculty brat, but family legend has it that, at an early age, I used to line up my dolls and drill them on their lessons.

Faculty News and Notes

Read about what our faculty have been up to over the past year. Read more >>

Students and Faculty Abroad

Vergilian Symposium in Italy Features Seven Papers by UNC Classicists

James O’Hara
George L. Paddison Professor of Latin
Vergilian Society President

Each summer the Vergilian Society runs a symposium in Cuma, Italy at the Harry Wilks Study Center at the Villa Vergiliana, which stands about a half mile away from the “cave of the Sibyl” (and about a half hour or so from Naples).  In the Summer of 2017 the topic for the Symposium Cumanum was “Vergil & Elegy,” and was organized by Alison Keith of the University of Toronto and Micah Myers of Kenyon College.  The conference featured thirty-five papers by classicists from six countries, with one session hosted by the Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici at the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, and a visit to the Naples Art Museum, where much of the best art from Pompeii is preserved. Read more >>

1.5 Million Euro Grant Awarded to Team Including Jennifer Gates-Foster

Professor Jennifer Gates-Foster is part of a small team recently awarded a 1.5 Million Euro European Research Council Starting Grant in support of their archaeological work in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Read more >>

Colloquium in London

Brian McPhee
PhD Candidate

From September 7 through 9, 2017, I and three other UNC Classics graduate students (Bryanna Lloyd, Keith Penich, and Hannah Sorscher) had the great pleasure of attending the 4th annual KCL-UNC Graduate Student Colloquium in London. Read more >>

Awards and Achievements

Robert Babcock

Robert Babcock wins Undergraduate Teaching Award

Professor Robert Babcock has received a 2018 Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.  This is the third year in a row that at least one Classics department instructor has been recognized for their outstanding teaching.  Read more >>

Departmental Prizes and Awards

The department awarded prizes and awards to both undergraduate and graduate students over the past year.  Read more about what they plan to do with their achievements.  Read more >>

Annual T-Shirt Competition

This spring semester, 76 elementary and intermediate Latin undergraduate students participated in the fourth annual T-shirt competition.  Read more >>


The Classics Department celebrated commencement this year at a well attended ceremony on Mother’s Day in Murphey Hall.  The graduates and their degrees are listed below. Read more >>


Out and About

Many of our graduate students and faculty participated in the annual meetings of various professional associations as well as guest lectures and exhibitions. Read more >>

Looking ahead

Have Alumni News?  Let us know!

If you are an alum of the Classics Department, please send us any news you’d like to share with other alums and friends of the department.  We plan to start a new section of our website to include highlights on alumni and their accomplishments.  Contact us at with information or any questions you may have.

Why I Love Murphey Hall, George Houston’s manuscript to be published online

This summer, Emeritus Professor George Houston’s monograph about the Classics Department and Murphey Hall will be published on our website.  As he writes in the preface, his goal for this book is “to set down [his] memories–buttressed by diaries, letters, and various documents–of the Department of Classics and its home, Murphey Hall.” The book describes the Department’s facilities and equipment; curriculum, classes, exams, and grading; research and tenure; and much besides. The publication, if all goes well, will coincide with the release of our new website.

New website coming this summer

Over the past semester, we have been working to make our website more accessible to users on all interfaces.  The new theme will go live sometime this summer and things will look a little different.  Many thanks go to our two wonderful work study students, Linh Ly and Rachel Wock, who put in many hours on the re-design of our website.  Their skills were invaluable in helping to complete the project.

A peak at our new home page