When Ward W. Briggs, Jr. took office as APA Financial Trustee in January 2004, he also became ex officio a member of the Development Committee. He thus became the Board’s primary liaison to the Committee right at the time when both of those bodies began work on the Gateway Campaign in 2005. When the Gateway Campaign Committee was formed, he immediately became a member of its Steering Committee and, in 2010, a Co-Chair of the entire Campaign Committee. In all of these positions he was an inspired author of annual giving and campaign appeals, a judicious editor of the work of others, a dedicated worker behind the scenes in tasks large and small, and one who was particularly effective at identifying both prospective donors and the right person to approach that donor. In late 2008 he produced a wonderful video demonstration of the APA’s ambitions for the digital portal to be funded by the Campaign. As usual, this presentation conveyed a carefully crafted and persuasive message. Bound as a CD inside the 2009 Annual Meeting Program, it generated considerable enthusiasm among APA members and contributed significantly to the fact that over one third of our individual members have made donations to the Campaign.
Of course, Professor Briggs’s responsibilities as Financial Trustee went far beyond work on our fund raising. Serving in that position until January 2010, he helped to guide the APA through the financial crisis of 2008 and oversaw a number of improvements in our procedures for budgeting and reporting that still help the Finance Committee to do its job and the Board of Directors to oversee the Association’s financial operations and investments. In addition to his term as Financial Trustee, he was the appointed member of the Finance Committee from 1998 to 2002. He thus served on this vital Association committee for a total of ten years during the time when the Association successfully made the transition to a full-time professional office and launched a major capital campaign. He is currently a member of the Outreach Committee and in previous decades he served on a number of other committees, including terms as Chair of both the Nominating and Classical Tradition Committees.
Since receiving his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 1974, Professor Briggs has had a distinguished teaching career at the University of South Carolina, culminating with ten years as both the Louise Fry Scudder Professor of Humanities and the Carolina Distinguished Professor of Classics. Although he has attained emeritus status, he continues to teach in the University’s Honors College. He has edited both scholarly journals (Vergilius) and book series (The Classical Heritage and Oklahoma Studies in Classical Culture), and has served the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS) as loyally as he has served the APA, with terms as CAMWS President, Historian, and a member of several committees. He has published numerous books and articles on Latin poetry and prose as well as reference books on ancient authors, and he is the premier historian of the study of Classics in North America. He has published several important studies on the career of B. L. Gildersleeve, and his master work in this area is the Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists, a publication that is now achieving new life in digital form under his supervision.
After nearly forty years of outstanding service to the APA and the entire field, Ward Briggs is highly deserving of our Distinguished Service Award.