For 200 years and in partnership with the public, the University of Michigan has created and re-created the American public university, with a principled dedication to education as a democratizing endeavor, to broad and equal access, and to advancement of knowledge and creativity in service to society. The struggle to define and capture the public ideal is a continuing story of American higher education, and Michigan has been in the vanguard. Michigan has upheld the standard of the American university as a place of inquiry and expression that serves a democratic public.
The winter 2017 theme semester, "The Making of U-M," addresses the university’s past and present, its “making” over time, since its 1817 founding, as a center for cultivating knowledge and creativity across an expanding array of disciplines and arts; as a force in public affairs locally, nationally, and globally; as a workplace; and as a way of life for its students, faculty, administrators, and staff. The fall 2017 theme semester, "The Possible Futures of U-M," addresses the changing place of U-M today in American life and global society; the challenges and dilemmas before the university that are already evident or may be anticipated in coming years; and the varied ways and means—including alternative visions of fundamental reform—that can respond to present and future demands.
Our Department is participating in this year-long celebration by highlighting the Greco-Roman classical tradition of U-M which has been evolving since its very foundation. This tradition is apparent in the original name, courses, and seal of the University; its public art and architecture; its museums and collections; its courses, scholarly projects, and cultural events across campus. The hub of this activity has been what is today called Department of Classical Studies. As stated already in 1852, the Department has been dedicated to "a general study of antiquity, the laws, government, social relations, religion, philosophy, arts, manufactures, commerce, education: in short, everything which belonged to Grecian and Roman life."