In Memoriam: Lucy Turnbull

(From the University of Mississippi's website)

Former University of Mississippi professor Lucy Turnbull will always be remembered as a beloved educator who could make her curriculum both easy to understand and infinitely interesting to her students, a mentor and a champion of civil rights at Ole Miss.

Her enthusiasm for the classics was contagious, which propelled her students to success in her art history, archaeology, mythology and classical civilization courses. Turnbull, 87, of Oxford, joined the university faculty in 1961 and taught until 1990. She died Sunday (April 21).

Dewey Knight, recently retired UM associate director of the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience, was one of Turnbull’s friends. He entered the university as a freshman in 1966 and found himself in one of her classes that year.

“She walked into the classroom that first day,” Knight said. “There were about 25 of us, and we were immediately very afraid of Professor Turnbull. She was incredibly intelligent. She could read Greek like we read English.

“We all were in fear of her, but we had the ultimate respect for her, because it was very obvious she was brilliant.”

Services for Turnbull are set for 11 a.m. Friday (April 26) at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Oxford. A visitation will precede the service starting at 9 a.m. in the church’s Parish Hall.

Knight calls his former professor “one of the most important change agents” in the university’s history. Her biographical bullet points support that claim.

Born in Lancaster, Ohio, Turnbull earned a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Radcliffe. She was a John Williams White Fellow and Charles Eliot Norton Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. She was the author of many scholarly articles and contributed to books, mainly in the areas of Greek vase painting, mythology and poetry.

After holding positions as a museum assistant at Wellesley College and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, she joined the UM classics faculty in 1961, as a classical archaeologist.

“Teaching is very energizing, but I didn’t really understand that at the time,” she later recalled. “When you’re teaching, you’re giving something to the students, but they’re also giving back to you. I enjoyed it very much.”

Turnbull was active in the integration of Ole Miss in 1962, when James Meredith became the first black student to enroll at the university. She, as a relatively new faculty member, was among the professors who vocally supported Meredith pursuing his education at the university.

Provost Emeritus Gerald Walton, who joined the UM faculty in 1962, later recalled that the professors who supported integration as part of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors held formal meetings. Turnbull was elected the group’s secretary.

“Those of us who supported integration became a kind of fraternal group and talked among ourselves a good deal,” Walton said in 2012. “It was good to learn that Lucy was one who did not mind speaking her mind even though we weren’t sure in those days how such people as board of trustees members or legislators – or members of the Ole Miss administration, for that matter – might act. Lucy was a brave woman.”

Meredith often found himself alone on campus. Knight remembers seeing a photo of his friend Turnbull having lunch in Johnson Commons with Meredith and UM professor James Silver, author of “Mississippi: The Closed Society,” surrounded by a sea of empty tables.

She also was an active member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, Mississippi Council on Human Relations, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Associates and the National Organization of Women, among other groups.

Turnbull helped establish the University Museum and served as its director toward the end of her career, from 1983 to 1990. Its opening was one of her favorite memories, as the Department of Classics‘ large collection of Greek and Roman antiquities was moved from Bondurant Hall to the museum, where they remain.

Turnbull’s classroom presence had a lasting effect on Knight, he said. The two became friends, and for 20 years, beginning in 1996, they jointly taught a Sunday school class at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where Turnbull was a devoted member who will be memorialized there Friday.

Knight and his wife, Theresa, also were among those invited to “The Christmas Party” at Turnbull’s house each year, where she lived alone, having never married.

The parties, which Knight said she hosted for nearly 50 years, included a who’s who of the university’s liberal arts community and ornaments that Turnbull made by hand.

“The first time we got the invitation, it just said ‘The Christmas Party,’” Knight said. “We didn’t know what was happening. We finally ultimately realized it was a big event, and if you were invited to her house, you felt special.”

He will always remember Turnbull as one of the most important figures in the university’s history and a fierce advocate for the liberal arts education.

“I never met anybody who didn’t like Lucy,” Knight said. “She was just a really special person who was very opinionated and very principled. Even if you didn’t agree with her, you liked her.

“She was an unwavering force. She was a scholar, but she was also a quality person. She made the university better by being a part of it.”

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(Photo: "Candle" by Shawn Carpenter, licensed under CC BY 2.0)   

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We are very pleased to announce the creation of the Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing (DC3), a new Digital Classics R&D unit embedded in the Duke University Libraries, whose start-up has been generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Duke University’s Dean of Arts & Sciences and Office of the Provost.

The DC3 goes live 1 July 2013, continuing a long tradition of collaboration between the Duke University Libraries and papyrologists in Duke’s Department of Classical Studies. The late Professors William H. Willis and John F. Oates began the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri (DDbDP) more than 30 years ago, and in 1996 Duke was among the founding members of the Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS). In recent years, Duke led the Mellon-funded Integrating Digital Papyrology effort, which brought together the DDbDP, Heidelberger Gesamtverzeichnis der Griechischen Papyrusurkunden Ägyptens (HGV), and APIS in a common search and collaborative curation environment (papyri.info), and which collaborates with other partners, including Trismegistos, Bibliographie Papyrologique, Brussels Coptic Database, and the Arabic Papyrology Database.

The DC3 team will see to the maintenance and enhancement of papyri.info data and tooling, cultivate new partnerships in the papyrological domain, experiment in the development of new complementary resources, and engage in teaching and outreach at Duke and beyond.

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Thu, 05/09/2013 - 1:16am by .

Bill Kemeza of Boston College High School reports the death of long-time APA member Brian P. Donaher

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 05/07/2013 - 5:02pm by Adam Blistein.

The International Federation of the Societies of Classical Studies (FIEC) has posted a second announcement with more details about its 14th International Congress to be held in Bordeaux (France) from Monday 25th August to Saturday 30th August 2014. This meeting in Bordeaux will give classicists from around the world and at all stages of their careers the opportunity to gather and provide an overview of the most recent research in classical studies.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Fri, 05/03/2013 - 2:19pm by Adam Blistein.

APA Member Tommye Lou Davis has fond memories of Robert Griffin III of Baylor and now the Washington Redskins - as a Latin student

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 05/03/2013 - 2:06pm by Adam Blistein.

University of South Carolina
16th Annual Comparative Literature Conference
February 26-March 2, 2014

  • What is translation? Is it a signifying process? A transfer of knowledge? Or the dissemination of tradition itself?
  • What are the grounds of comparison between noncognate traditions?
  • How are classics received within their own traditions and within other traditions?
  • How does translation relate to local commentarial traditions?
  • How do the translation of the classics relate to project of cosmopolitanism?
  • How do new media affect the transmission of the classics?
  • Are Plato and Aristotle to the postwar West as Confucius and Lao Tzu are to postrevolutionary China?

Classical texts routinely engage the poetic, the political, the social, historical, the religious, and the philosophical without drawing clear boundaries between them. Seeking papers from these and other disciplines, this conference asks how the reception of the classics in both China and the West informs and serves to transform the modern world. When and why do cultures access traditions beyond their bounds and how does that cross fertilization work? We seek papers and participants engaging in dialogues ranging across disciplines and cultures.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 05/02/2013 - 12:41pm by .

All three recipients of Ovationes at this year’s meeting of CAMWS in Iowa City were APA members.  They were Robert W. Cape, Austin College; S. Douglas Olson, University of Minnesota; and Mary Pendergraft, Wake Forest University.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/01/2013 - 4:35pm by Adam Blistein.

Robert A. Kaster, Princeton University, is one of 198 newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.  Academy membership encompasses over 4,000 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members and reflects the full range of disciplines: mathematics, the physical and biological sciences, medicine, the social sciences and humanities, business, government, public affairs, and the arts.

Sarah Insley, Harvard University, is one of 22 ACLS New Faculty Fellows for 2013-2015.  Her fellowship appointment will be at Brown University.  The New Faculty Fellows program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, allows recent Ph.D.s in the humanities to take up two-year positions at universities and colleges across the United States where their particular research and teaching expertise augment departmental offerings. 

Susan I. Rotroff, Washington University in St. Louis, is among the 175 recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships for 2013.  Prof. Rotroff’s project is “The introduction of the red-figure style and the ceramic chronology of Late Archaic Athens (ca. 530-80 BCE)."

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 04/30/2013 - 7:13pm by Adam Blistein.

A conference jointly organised by the Department of Classics, King’s College London, and the Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome, Royal Holloway University of London

8th-9th July 2013, Conference Room, King’s College, London

For more information, go to http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/classics/eventrecords/latinlit.aspx

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Sun, 04/28/2013 - 1:29am by .

The deadline for submission of individual abstracts to the APA Program Committee is this Wednesday, May 1, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time.  To make a submission you must be an APA member in good standing for 2013 and create an account at this year's APA program submission system.  Please note these important items.

1.  You must create an account on the program submission system.  It does not automatically contain an account you may have created on the APA's members' only page or on the placement system site. 

2.  The program submission system will not permit you to create an account if you are not in good standing.  If you have not yet paid dues for 2013, and you want to make a submission by the May 1 deadline, you must pay your dues no later than 9:00 am Eastern time on Monday, April 29 and then wait until May 1 to make your program submission. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 04/24/2013 - 1:29pm by Adam Blistein.

In The New York Times on April 5, David Brooks asks a fundamental question: “What is a university for?” (“The Practical University”, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/opinion/Brooks-The-Practical-University.html?ref=davidbrooks&_r=0).  In answering, he distinguishes between “two sorts of knowledge, what the philosopher Michael Oakeshott called technical knowledge and practical knowledge”.  Basically, “technical knowledge” is “the sort of knowledge you need to understand a task”, “like the recipes in a cookbook”, whereas “practical knowledge” is a kind of “practical moral wisdom”, absorbed rather than memorized, acquired and sustained through practice.  According to Brooks, the online revolution in education will have its main effect in the domain of “technical knowledge”, and the real “future of the universities is in practical knowledge”. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 04/15/2013 - 7:56pm by Adam Blistein.

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