Marc DeGirolami, B.A. 1995

Cary Fields Professor of Law, St. John's University School of Law – Queens, NY

1995 Major: Classical Studies

How has being a Classical Studies graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"In many ways. First, because it allowed me to learn about a historical period that I have always found fascinating and exciting. Second, because it introduced me to two languages that have been extremely important for the development of English, the Romance languages, and the language of law, which is the one I ended up studying most in the end. Third, because of the sheer enjoyment of being able to read, in the original, the thoughts and ideas of authors whose work I have long admired or found of great interest. Those have stayed with me over time, and they are a constant source of pleasure and happiness to return to from time to time. And there are other reasons as well."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Classical Studies programs? 

"Take the hard language options. What makes a Classical Studies experience distinctive is the capacity to get into the history and culture through the languages. Other departments at Duke can also give you historical and cultural perspective on the ancient world. But only Classical Studies can introduce you to the philological joys of Latin and Greek, getting you into the literary, philosophical, and cultural materials from the inside, as it were. You are fortunate to be studying at a department that takes the languages seriously."

Marc DeGirolami