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Mike Taylor with ESP members
Members of Eta Sigma Phi held a discussion dinner about W.R. Connor with Mike Taylor (third from right) in February 2013. Members attending were (l-r) Nicky Curtis, Julia Juhasz, Alex Caprara, Luke Hagemann, Kelci Schilly, and David Culclasure. | Photo courtesy of Nicky Curtis.

The recently revived undergraduate honors society had a busy year, thanks to the support of alumni and friends who participated in and supported the group’s activities.
Luke Hagemann
president of Eta Sigma Phi

After Eta Sigma Phi’s revival last spring, we quickly elected officers and started planning for this academic year. With 17 members, we have had a successful year promoting Classics not only within the UNC undergraduate community but also the greater Classics community.

Our first major event of the year was to throw a birthday party for Vergil – his 2,081st. The entire department showed up to the potluck to sing “Felicem Natalem Diem” and read passages of Vergilian hexameter.

Next, in February, some Eta members met with Mike Taylor, BA’69 and JD ’78, for pizza and a discussion of the significance of Classics both within and outside of the academic field. Pertinent to the conversation was W.R. Connor’s “Smashing the Wedgwood,” which we all read beforehand per Dr. Taylor’s request. Dr. Taylor majored in Greek as a UNC undergraduate before earning his PhD in Classics at Harvard University, returning to UNC to earn his JD later. While practicing law in the area, he has retained close ties with the department. It was great to spend the evening discussing Connor’s work with him, and we appreciate his support of Eta.

In April, Eta held its first UNC Undergraduate Classics Conference. We received paper abstracts from students across the country, and narrowed down the applicant pool to present at a two-day conference, which we held April 13-14 at UNC. Sharon James kindly offered to be our keynote speaker, and the event was a great success (and it did not hurt that we held our conference dinner at Mediterranean Deli). We are already planning to host a second conference next spring.

Our final event of the year was to host another departmental party. Ostensibly we celebrated Rome’s founding date and a belated Dionysia (with readings of pertinent Latin and Greek texts), but it also was to congratulate ourselves on a successful year for Eta Sigma Phi!