Year in Review

At the end of each school year, our faculty and graduate students look back to reflect on highlights — professional and personal — that occurred. We also invite our alumni to share with us and their classmates any news happening in their lives and careers. We compile this information in the following e-newsletter and associated web pages. If you would like to be on our email distribution list, please contact Matthew Meyer.


Message from Chair Jed Atkins


Departmental and university life during the 2021-2022 Academic Year was filled with twists, turns, and fluctuations as we continued to adapt to life given the presence of COVID. The Delta and Omicron variants made it difficult to establish a rhythm, but the university and department adapted and persisted as we continued with our teaching, research, and service missions. As national and international travel reopened, faculty and students resumed traveling for conferences, field work, fellowships, and field trips. Two of our senior colleagues delivered prestigious named lectures: Gregson Davis delivered the Houseman Lecture at University College London (“The reception of Lucretius’ ‘On the Nature of Things’ in Aimé Césaire’s ‘Journal of a Homecoming’ ”) and William Johnson gave the Danziger Lecture at the University of Chicago (“Not the Pharoah’s Curse: Tales of Greek Literary Papyri and Colonial Entanglements.”) And Lauren Ginsberg, who contributed to a new opera about Roman Emperor Nero's second wife Poppaea, was invited to the opera's debut in Vienna.

After a season full of changes among faculty and staff due to retirements, promotions, and hiring, this past year was relatively quiet. We did see a change at the Business Manager position. David Culclasure took a position in the history department at UNC, a well-deserved promotion after his excellent tenure in our department. While we will miss David, we are delighted to welcome Sondra Horn to our department as Senior Program Coordinator for Classical Studies and Transformative Ideas, a new sophomore program that helps students explore life’s biggest questions together in community. Sondra comes to us with considerable and wide-ranging administrative-management experience in academic departments and programs at both Stanford and Duke universities, most recently serving as Senior Program Coordinator for Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy. She has special expertise in grants management. I am excited to be adding someone with Sondra’s experience and talent to our departmental administrative and leadership teams.

Checkout the links below for updates and highlights from our faculty, students, and alums.

Alumni & Friends
Graduate Student

Undergraduate Activities and Recognition

With the help of Duke faculty, graduate students, and her fellow undergraduates, senior Sophia Dort, President of the Duke Classics Collegium, organized another successful Junior Classical League Certamen. Alex Pieroni, Skyler Brogan, Sam Quigley, and Tyler Donovan each received student travel awards to conduct research abroad: Alex, Skyler, and Sam to work with Maurizio Forte on his Vulci 3000 project in Italy and Tyler to work on the Argilos excavation with Cassandra Casias.  

Classical Studies continues to attract some of the most interesting, accomplished, and intellectually curious undergraduates on the Duke campus, who combine the study of antiquity with a range of disciplines that include dance, music, history, linguistics, economics, philosophy, religious studies, public policy, political science, computer science, and chemistry.

Commencement 2022

On Friday May 6, 2022, Duke Classical Studies celebrated the achievements of our graduating Classical Studies doctoral students and majors with a dinner at Parizade. Brandon Dodds (BA in Classical Civilizations; minor in Latin), Sophia Dort (BA in Classical Languages and Chemistry) and Emma Shokeir (BA in Classical Civilizations and Political Science) all earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in our department. Dr. Clinton Kinkade and Dr. Tori Lee received PhDs in Classical Studies. Clinton wrote “Sophocles’ Ancient Readers: The Role of Scholarship on the Reception of Greek Tragedy” under the direction of Joshua Sosin; Tori wrote “Violent by Nature: Danger & Darkness in the Pastoral World” under the direction of Micaela Janan and Gregson Davis. Congratulations to our graduates and their families. We are cheering you on as you leave Duke and join our wonderful alumni community.

Brandon Dodds and family
Brandon Dodds and family
Sophia Dort and family
Sophia Dort and family
Shokeir and guests
Emma Shokeir with faculty and friends
Tori and Clinton with guests
Dr. Clinton Kinkade and Dr. Tori Lee

Gratias Agimus

We are immensely grateful to friends and supporters who designate their Duke gifts to help the Department. Even as they help us accomplish our goals of furthering the love and understanding of Classical Studies, they remind us that our department continues to have an impact on those we have taught and met. We use these individual gifts primarily to support student research and course enhancement. This past year the department received generous new gifts from Mike and Diann Nickelsburg that support all aspects of our mission but especially our students’ study of Latin and Greek.

We also want to recognize the several endowments that are vital to the health of the department. Some were set up long ago, while others are fresh contributions, but all are vital to our mission:

  • The Warren Gates Endowment
  • The Anita Dresser Jurgens Endowment
  • The Francis Lanneau Newton Endowment
  • The Leonard and Lynn Quigley Fund
  • The Teasley Family Classical Antiquities Endowment
  • The Teasley-Carroll-Trope Family Faculty Support Endowment
  • The Diann Miller Nickelsburg Fund

If you are interested in learning more about how you can support the department, please contact Justin Michalka at