As I continue my series on the Classicists from the Class of 2010 which I began last semester, I reflect on the fact that Classicists, despite the strange looks we sometimes get when we tell people what we study, really are capable of just about anything. Last year, I posted a link on this site to a study which found that Classics majors do better on the LSAT than most other majors. That post turns out to be an appropriate link into my post for today, which is about my interview with John Henry, a lawyer and currently a Research Compliance Associate with Indiana University. He graduated from Wabash in 2010 with a double major in English and Classical Civilization.
Originally, Henry didn’t intend to become a Classics major, but, as so many of us are, he was hooked in by Dr. Hartnett’s Latin 101 class. Soon followed a course in Greek Art and Archaeology with Dr. Leslie Day (according to Henry, one of the best courses he took while at Wabash), Dr. Kubiak’s class in Classical mythology, and several others. Henry told me that the “Passion of the professors was so profound, and their teaching methods were so good” that he felt connected to them like family. Indeed, like others before and after him, Henry considered the Professors Day especially to be a kind of second parents for him at Wabash. I myself can attest that this “familial” quality of the Classics Department continues at Wabash today.
Henry’s special connection with the Days eventual led him to Greece on an immersion trip. He was able to see Kavousi, the site on Crete that has long been the focus of Leslie Day’s research and excavations, which is not open to the public. Henry and his classmates received the special treat of a tour of the site by Dr. Day herself. In fact, Henry mentioned that she was so knowledgeable about every site they visited that she was able to give a “full academic lecture” wherever they went.
While Henry shared these special relationships with his professors, his classmates also inspired him. Henry says that his fellow Classicists, like Denver Wade and Mitch Brown, forced him to work harder with the passionate quality of their work. During our interview, Henry noted that this characteristic of his class particularly showed in their senior seminar, led by Dr. Joe Day, in which each student wrote on a separate topic. The quality of each individual’s work was so good, Henry recalls, that he felt as if they were all in graduate school editing each other’s Ph.D. dissertations.
Today, Henry continues to stay in touch with his Classics family, faculty and classmates. His Classics background also helps him in his legal career. Not only does his study of Latin allow him to know the meaning of such phrases commonly used in the law, but, on a deeper level, the critical thinking skills he developed from his work in Classics of piecing source material together to make cogent arguments aids the very basis of his work as a lawyer.
At the end of our interview, I asked Henry if he wanted to add anything for the blog post. He mentioned that he hopes that the Classics at Wabash continue to be maintained at the same level of quality as they have been and that they remain an integral part of the educational environment at Wabash. That Henry feels so strongly about this issue speaks to the positive influence his time in the Classics Department here at Wabash had on him. Not only are the Classics beneficial to study in and of themselves, but the Classics “family” at Wabash is so superb, every Wabash man ought to take advantage of it.