The Department of Classical Studies is honored to have such wonderful and generous alumni. Following is a recent letter we received from Patrick Clark, B.A. '10.
My name is Patrick Clark and I was an undergraduate at U of M from 2005-2010, where I majored in Classical Civilization and Classical Languages and Literatures. In 2010 I left for UC Berkeley to pursue a PhD in History, which I just completed in May. During the last seven years I have had time to reflect on where I have come from and where I am going, and although I decided not to seek an academic job, I never felt that my education in the Classics was time wasted. On the contrary, my life would not be as rich today without my teachers and friends in the Department of Classical Studies at U of M.
I took my first classes - Pagans and Christians in the Roman World, taught by Professor Sara Ahbel-Rappe, and Roman Law, taught by Professor Bruce Frier - as a sophomore, when I had little direction and was distracted by other "extracurricular" activities. These classes introduced me to a fascinating world of complex characters and even more complex ideas, and provided, me with something I could enjoyably concentrate on. Shortly thereafter, I declared the Major and enrolled in my first Latin and Greek classes. Under the guidance of Professors H.D. Cameron and Ruth Caston and Drs. Netta Berlin and Gina Soter, I had the great fortune to read beautiful works of poetry, history, tragedy, and philosophy. I continued studying the ancient world in fascinating classes on the Roman emperor and ancient warfare with Professor David Potter, Greek political thought with Professor Arlene Saxonhouse, and Thucydides with Professor Sara Forsdyke. In all these classes, I not only learned valuable skills; I also gained a deeper appreciation for literature, philosophy, and history. Finally, I wrote an honors thesis with Professor Ahbel-Rappe. Though not a work of great historical insight, my thesis taught me how to work diligently to complete a multistep project and pushed the boundaries of my skills and abilities.
In short, the Department of Classical Studies took an interest in me when I needed guidance and supported me throughout my undergraduate career with sage advice and warm friendship. The Department even provided financial support for my trip to Rome with Dr. Soter and helped my sister Molly with funding for her summer Modern Greek program in Greece. I hope to continue to support the Department when I can so that it is able to continue to help students like me find their way.