Alumni News (2020-21)

Eric Adler, Ph.D., Classical Studies (2005)

"As of the fall 2022 semester, I'll be a full professor in the Department of Classics at the University of Maryland. In addition, I'm now serving as the department's chair. My last book, "The Battle of the Classics: How a Nineteenth‐Century Debate Can Save the Humanities" (Oxford UP, 2020) continues to receive reviews in the popular and scholarly press. In 2020, I was made a member of the editorial board of the journal "Humanitas"."  

Umbilicus Mundi!

Albert DiMeo, A.B., Classical Civilization (1994)

"Hard to believe, but my first child, Isabella DiMeo, graduated this year from high school and — mirabile dictu — will be attending Duke as a freshman next year! She’s expressed some significant interest in the classics, no doubt in part to my relentless promotion of Ancient Rome, and endless stories of the “Centro” with Tolly Boatwright in 1992. She was the first of my children to benefit from a long promised father‐child personal trip to Italy, which luckily we got in before Covid struck. Her favorite part of our intensive tour was Ostia Antica… Look for her taking Intro to Ancient Rome her first semester!

"Otherwise, I remain busy with the rest of the family when I’m not doing cardio‐thoracic surgery at Saint Francis Hospital in Roslyn New York."


Megan Drinkwater, Ph.D., Classical Studies (2003)

"So much to report! I joined Agnes Scott's Faculty Executive Committee (faculty governance leaders) in fall of 2019, which lead to a much more intense term in faculty leadership than I could possibly have imagined. This year I complete my term as FEC President while simultaneously beginning a three‐year term as Director of our Center for Teaching and Learning with a mandate to expand the center to include Professional Development more broadly. My book on Ovid's Heroides and the Augustan principate‐‐ fairly loosely based on my Duke dissertation‐‐ is set for publication by Wisconsin Press in early 2022. Family ties to Italy kept us abreast of COVID‐19 from the beginning. We are all fortunate to have weathered the pandemic fine so far, with online school for me and for Nicola (rising 8th grade) and the already‐working-from‐home Gabriele. Fingers crossed for a return to Rome next summer."

Craig Gibson, Ph.D., Classical Studies (1995)

"With Jeffrey Beneker, I published a translation of Michael Andreopoulos' "The Book of Syntipas the Philosopher" and "The Fables of Syntipas" in the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library Series. My older daughter begins college at Sewanee this fall, and my younger daughter is interning at a university lab this summer. The younger and I just spent 4 days hiking in the Loess Hills in SW Iowa‐‐a beautiful geological feature found only there and in China."


Carl Ginsberg, A.B., Classical Civilization (1992)

"I am still in Dallas, and while no longer a full time Iudex, I wear several hats: part‐time "Iudex Emeritus" hearing tax cases, arbitrator, and mediator (Pacificator?). With COVID having put the kibosh on international travel for over a year, I am excited to travel soon to Germany, including a visit to the site of the Battle of the Teutoburger Wald, where, in 9AD, Arminius ("Herman the German") defeated General Varus, slaughtering three legions. "Quintili Vare, legiones redde!" ‐  Imperator Augustus"

Michael Joyce, A.B., Classical Languages (2003)

"I live and work in Ashburn, VA (the data center capital of the world) doing multifamily operations and investment with my family's firm. By the time this is published, we will have welcomed our fifth child (a little girl) into our family, joining Cecilia (age 10), Conall (age 8), Teddy (age 3), and Finn (age 18 months). Life is good, and is very busy. During the lockdown, I spent a good amount of time catching up on some Roman history ‐ Livy, Pliny, Tacitus, and Josephus, among others. What I would give to be able to take a few more classes on the second floor of the Allen Building! I am very appreciative of the education that the Duke Classics department gave me ‐ and can report that I use it *every day*, even in a field that, on its surface, appears to have no connection to the Classics."  

Nifong with others
Alumnus Will Nifong (4th from left) officiates at wedding of former Latin student who now is a Latin teacher

William Nifong, A.B., Classical Studies / Comparative Literature (1989)

On July 17, 2021, William Nifong (A.B. Classical Studies / Comparative Literature '89; Law '00), now a Latin teacher and World Languages Chair at Chicago’s Northside College Preparatory High School, officiated at the Portsmouth, NH, wedding of David Jaffe, a former student who is now a Latin teacher himself. David also married a fellow Latin teacher, Olivia Brooks. (Yes, some Catullus was read, and many astonishingly nerdy inside jokes were heard.) In attendance at the wedding were seven other former NCP Latin students from five different graduating classes stretching from 2012 to 2017, two of whom had traveled from Los Angeles! This reunion with students who had bonded years ago over love of Classics and the Junior Classical League was blissful and reminds us that learning communities build family. Not to be outdone, the two California guests will be marrying one another at a ceremony at Chicago's Newberry Library in January 2022. In other news, Daniel Newgarden, a 2021 NCP graduate and immediate past president of the National Junior Classical League, is headed off to Brown to further his passion for Classics in the “Archaeology and the Ancient World” program. This happy Magister will keep you posted on further developments.

Keeley Schell, A.B., Classical Languages & Classical Civilizations (2000)

"I had the good fortune to already be a remote worker before Covid hit ‐‐ I've been writing and editing marketing and sales materials for start‐ups for four years, and have also conducted some sales training. I am excited to be returning to in‐person work this fall, however, as a school librarian at St. Francis Xavier School in Winooski, Vermont. Stay well and read copiously, friends!"

Mesha Sloss, A.B., Classical Civilizations (2013)

Since graduating from Duke Law in 2016, Mesha has been a practicing attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is currently in‐house counsel at a manufacturing company where she practices corporate law. This year, Mesha was awarded the Mecklenburg County Bar Young Lawyer of the Year Award for 2020‐2021. She still gets her classics fix through reading and is currently interested in ancient Egyptian history and culture.  

In front of the Classics Department at the University of Cincinnati

David Stifler, Ph.D., Classical Studies (2018)

"I had a great two years as Assistant Professor (Visiting) at the University of Cincinnati, where I was nominated for the Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching. The bigger news, however, is that my wife Elizabeth and I welcomed our daughter Sara Anne in December 2020, and have been doting on her ever since. She's shown an early interest in archaeology (digging in the dirt) and philology (grabbing any book within reach and flipping through it intently) so perhaps you'll see her presenting at an SCS‐AIA conference in a few years..."

Gretchen with a special surprise visitor at her library!

Gretchen Wright, A.B., Classical Civilization (2000)

"After graduating virtually last May, I spent some time in Vermont, my home state, figuring out what should come next. In October, I accepted a job as the Director of a small public library in a town about 30 minutes from Burlington, VT. I had worked at the Rubenstein Library at Duke throughout my four years on campus, but I'm learning that public libraries are a very different ball game from rare books and manuscripts! I don't have too many opportunities to use my Classical Civ knowledge at work, but I have added the Madeline Miller books to our collection and also led a "Roman mosaic" craft project for a family program this spring, which was lots of fun. I also taught a Latin 3 class at a ski academy in Stowe, VT this winter. It felt like it had been years since I'd had to think about things like supines or the sequence of tenses‐‐ probably good to keep my Latin sharp, but teaching was definitely a challenge! Hope everyone is keeping healthy and well this summer."

Mack Zalin, Ph.D., Classical Studies (2016)

"In addition to being Librarian for Comparative Thought and Literature, Jewish Studies, and Modern Languages and Literatures at Johns Hopkins University, I am now Librarian for Classics as well. Between my regular duties at Hopkins and my duties as chair of the Advisory Board of the American Office of L’Année philologique to the Society for Classical Studies, I have been very busy this past year. I've still been having a lot of fun, as ever, combining my love of the humanities with my love of libraries."