Spring 2016 Newsletter


Letter from the Chair

(PHOTO: Prof. AOK-O in San Francisco in Jan. 2016)                                                                   
AOKO in San Francisco for the AIA Conference

Once again, I send my warmest greetings to our students (undergraduate and graduate), alumni/ae, friends and supporters of the Department of Classical Studies, and colleagues across the Brandeis campus and elsewhere.

Since the cold winter winds of January, many exciting things have happened in the Department of Classical Studies and in the MA program in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies. Most of our faculty members are already off on summer adventures or summer projects (excavations, study tours, conferences, gardening, or reading good novels), so my account will be concise. Delande Justinvil, one of the two trusty administrators in Classical Studies, has added a new full set of photos for the photo wheel, including scenes from my trip to San Francisco for the meetings of the Archaeological Institute of America and Society of Classical Studies, events and thesis defenses during the spring term, a first look at our new tenured Hellenist hire, Professor Joel Christensen, the spring AGRS graduate conference (April 16, 2016, Battles and Bloodsports: Portrayal of Death and Violence in the Ancient Mediterranean World, with keynote speaker, Kathleen Coleman, the Joseph Loeb Professor of the Classics at Harvard University, who presented a talk, “Defeat in the Arena”), UDR and CLARC gatherings (including the Experiential Learning Fair on April 5, 2016), the spring meet and greet party for our new graduate students (March 31, 2016), Eta Sigma Phi induction ceremony (May 3, 2016--YES, Brandeis now has a chapter of this distinguished Classic Honor Society!), a few images from my April trip to Rome (conference at the British School in Rome and KNIR garden), and photos from graduation (May 22, 2016).

I am not including a separate Notabilia section in this newsletter for the news of individual faculty. Instead I tell you some highlights from faculty activities in this letter, including some news from me. 

During the spring semester I taught one fairly large course:  Pompeii--Life in the Shadow of Vesuvius (47 students enrolled), and I had the best time. Many students did exciting final projects exploring all sorts of problems in Roman daily life and they used 3-D printing and computer technologies to solve them. Over the course of the semester, we saw the completion of 9 MA theses and MA papers for the year and 4 undergraduate senior theses, so the CLAS faculty and I were very busy all winter and spring with mentoring, arranging for, and staging student defenses.

I started the year by attending the annual joint meetings of the Archaeological Institute of America and Society of Classical Studies in San Francisco. In addition to interviewing 14 candidates for our Hellenist position (Professors Johnston and Walker accompanied me in this process), I received the 2016 Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the Archaeological Institute of America. I saw many former students at the event, and it was definitely a touching culmination of many years of teaching. (See the FT15 edition of NUNTIUS for more news about this award.)

And speaking of awards and prizes, students in Classical Studies did very well this year. Here are the illustrious student prize winners from spring 2016:

University-wide prizes:
Benjamin Poser: Doris Brewer Cohen Prize
Matthew Chernick: Dorothy Blumenthal Moyer Prize:

Departmental prizes:
Matthew Chernick: Esther Goldman Prize for Excellence in Classical Languages and Literatures 
David Picker-Kille: Esther Goldman Prize for Excellence in Classical Art and Archaeology
Ana-Sofia Meneses: Esther Goldman Prize for Excellence in Classical Art, Archaeology, and Ancient History
Spencer Stevens: The David S. Wiesen Memorial Prize

Faculty and staff news follows. Our two visiting professors, Maša Culumovic, who taught ancient Greek for us, and Trevor S. Luke, who taught Roman Historians in Latin, have now finished out the year and moved on—Professor Luke back to Florida State and Professor Culumovic to Washington DC for a new position at the Center for Hellenic Studies. 

Delande Justinvil, one of the two invaluable academic administrators in the department, has been accepted into the MA program in Anthropology. Delande will continue working for us to administer our graduate MA program, but he will also be starting an academic journey of his own. Both Heidi McAllister and Delande provided invaluable support during the search process in 2015-16 for the hire of Professor Joel Christensen.

Professor Patricia A. Johnston is currently at the annual Symposium Classicum Peregrinum (June 16-19, 2016) in Tarquinia, Italy. The symposium’s title is: “The Mysteries of Mithras and the Mystic Cults in the Roman World”.

Professor Andrew J. Koh is currently in Crete where he is working near Siteia on the Mouliana graves of the Bronze Age. Below is a link to a Rhodes College description of his project, which is going to revolutionize Bronze Age studies. Professor Koh is the Director of Record and the lead on this project, but his co-director, Miriam Clinton, and Rhodes have been taking the lion’s share of credit and publicity. In an attempt to rectify this fact, I am advertising his work here, both with links to the Rhodes College site and to the Mouliana project itself:




Professor Cheryl L. Walker is busy gardening this summer, reading all the best books she can get her hands on, and doing preparations for a very busy fall semester. She was a great companion to me during the San Francisco meetings in January.

The Department of Classical Studies and the M.A. program in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies had a hectic, but very productive year. As always, we are very grateful to all of you for your support of the department. If you would like to make a gift, you can find information below regarding gifts to the department. Please write us (or better yet, come to see us) with any news you would like to share with your current or former classmates or with your current or former teachers and friends! 

Warmest regards to all,

Professor AOK-O

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow
Chair and Co-Director of Graduate Studies

Gratias Agimus!

We are very happy to acknowledge the many individuals who have made contributions (large and small) over the past year that enrich our programs and provide resources for things we would not be able to do without their generosity. Warmest thanks to the following friends of Classical Studies for recent gifts:

Robert and Cynthia Lepofsky, who support our collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, purchases of library books and databases for departmental research, the Digital Humanities Lab and its projects, summer excavation travel grants for our students (the Lepofsky Fellow program), crucial funding for our annual graduate student conferences, and much more.

Nancy Stone Bernard and Allan Bernard, who have established a new prize for graduate students interested in teaching. Stephen Guerriero was this year’s winner of the prize, and he will be joining Professor AOK-O on her archaeological study tour in Italy this summer. The Bernards also continue to give us beautiful art and archaeology books from their personal library for our departmental library.

Eunice M. Lebowitz Cohen (d. April 3, 2015), who has supported an undergraduate scholarship, undergraduate Cohen Fellowships, three departmental prizes for our undergraduates, and Cohen internships at the Classical Studies Artifact Research Collection (CLARC). (Please see our memorial page on the main website in honor of Mrs. Cohen.)

Jennifer Eastman has supported many lecture series over the years in the department and also helped to finance two theatrical productions of Greek tragedies in collaboration with the Department of Theater Arts. She has added greatly to the intellectual life of the department, and we are in communication about a new theater project for the next year or two.

Fred Siegel ’71 has used his generous family fund to support the David S. Wiesen Memorial Fund Prize and other departmental initiatives. Mr. Siegel was a Latin student of David Wiesen, whom he adored when he was an undergraduate at Brandeis. Prof. AOK-O was privileged to study with Mr. Siegel when they were both graduate students at the University of Michigan together.

Daniel J. Franklin ‘00 made a substantial gift to the department in honor of his grandmother, Esther Goldman, who was a lover of Latin and Greek and Roman art, archaeology, and civilization. We gave the first awards this spring to three students:  Matthew Chernick ‘16, Ana-Sofia Meneses ‘16, and David Picker-Kille ‘16.

We are also grateful to Gloria Fong, Zina Jordan, Sanford Ma, Dianne Ma, Paul Trusten, Robert and Natalie Warshawer ’55, and Ellen Wiesen for ongoing support.  Mr. Siegel, Mr. Trusten and Mrs. Wiesen have been loyal supporters of the David S. Wiesen Memorial Fund Prize for many years. The prize this year went to undergraduate Spencer Stevens ‘16.

We are also grateful to Cynthia Rose (Brandeis Ph.D.) for the gift of ten ancient objects and many books on ancient art and archaeology from her personal collection. The CLARC (Classical Studies Artifact Research Collection) interns will be working on these objects in the next academic year.

For additional information on how current students may be supported by your gifts, please contact the chair, Professor Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow (aoko@brandeis.edu) or 781-736-2183

If you would like to make a donation (cash, artifacts, or books) to Classical Studies (cash can be given in a targeted and specific way to our Classical Studies Gift fund), please make your checks out to The Department of Classical Studies, Brandeis University, and send them to:


c/o the Chair, Professor Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow or to

Heidi McAllister, Academic Administrator or to

Delande Justinvil, Academic Administrator

Department of Classical Studies
Mandel Center for the Humanities, M.S. 092

Brandeis University, 415 South Street

Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-9110


Call for Submissions

Nuntius was designed to bring you our news, but we also hope that it serves as a vehicle through which to receive and pass on your input, news, and ideas. Our intention is to reach out to the entire Brandeis Classical Studies community and to lovers of Classical Studies well beyond the university: faculty, students, alumni/ae, donors, and all our friends. To that end, please let us know what you think about the publication and about the kinds of news and photos included in this issue and others. We would be most receptive to your thoughts, cartoons, brief essays, discussion topics, and anecdotes from your Brandeis days in Classical Studies or from your personal experience of the field.

We’d also love to have photos from way back when the department was young.  Please consider us as a place to publish your memories of Classical Studies whether in artwork, photography, poetry, translations, sketches, or watercolors.  Please contact Heidi McAllister (hmcallis@brandeis.edu), Delande Justinvil (delande@brandeis.edu), or department chair, Professor Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow (aoko@brandeis.edu) with your material or with any questions. Thank you all so much!

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