In Memoriam: Robert A. Seelinger

(Written by Ted Tarkow)

An alum of Dickinson, Brown, and the University of Missouri (MU), Bob Seelinger (1951-2018) taught classics at Westminster College in Fulton, MO, from 1979 until taking early retirement in 2015, necessitated by a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.  By the time of his death, he had served as professor of classics for over 20 years and in addition had served as Dean of the Faculty and Vice President of the College for over a half dozen years at the campus made famous by the “Iron Curtain” speech delivered there   in 1946 by Winston Churchill.

A beloved teacher, Bob taught all levels of both languages as well as a wide range of general education courses.  Not surprisingly to the scores of Westminster students who had studied with him, he received the APA Award for Excellence in the Teaching of the Classics, the Governor’s Award for Teaching, and the Parents’ Association Award for Teaching, among many other recognitions.    But his career also allowed presentations and publications in some of his favorite authors, from Apuleius (the focus of his PhD dissertation), to 4th century, Republican, and early Imperial authors and genres.  His abundant time at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, as well as at two NEH Summer Seminars, enabled other students and scholars to make the most of their time there.

A devoted family man, Bob met his wife Cathy Callaway, herself an accomplished professional in the field, when they both studied classics at MU where their son, not surprisingly, also majored in classics, as well as in political science. The family enjoyed traveling together, most notably to Greece, where they enjoyed three different sabbatical  years, the last one in 2005-06.

Until just weeks before he passed away, Bob was working on two projects:  an update of William Parrish’s Westminster College, An Informal History (with Margot McMillen) and an analysis  (with Cathy Callaway) of a Greek funeral stele (2nd-3rd century A.D.) dedicated to Heliodora in the Museum of Art and Archaeology at MU.   He never lost his zeal for research, and his love of teaching.

The proud tradition of classics in the “Show Me” state is honored to acknowledge, with abundant admiration, the life and legacy of a talented exemplar of our profession, a true kalos kagathos for whom more modern adjectives seem especially appropriate:   learned, kind, thoughtful, and brave.

(Written by Cathy Callaway)

ROBERT ADAM SEELINGER died on September 22, 2018, on his father’s birthday, after a four- and a-half-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC on October 16, 1951. An Eagle Scout, he attended Rogers High School in Newport, Rhode Island, and Dickinson College, in Pennsylvania. He spent his junior year in Rome. He received an MA from Brown University, and a PhD in Classics and Classical Archaeology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1981. Seelinger learned Latin at an early age and continued to read, write, and teach it his whole life. He was also a scholar of ancient Greek, and during his three sabbatical years in Greece he became fluent in Modern Greek.

He moved to Columbia, MO in 1974 to pursue his PhD in the Department of Classical Studies. He started teaching Latin and other Classics courses part-time at Westminster College in 1979. The position became full-time and tenure-track in 1981.

From 1999-2005 he served as Dean of Faculty and Vice President of the College. He was a leader in the initiative to start a Westminster campus in Mesa, AZ and was grateful for the support and dedication of all those who were involved in that project. He was gratified by the fact that many of the Mesa students continued their Westminster experience on the Fulton campus. He was deeply moved by the retirement celebration he shared with other colleagues in 2016.

He is survived by his wife, Cathy Callaway, his son, Nicholas Seelinger, his sister, Barbara (Robert) Beebe of Middletown RI, and nephew Adam Carter of Tacoma WA, and two great nephews. He also leaves behind a beloved host of relatives on Cathy’s side that consider him family; several were present at his peaceful death in his home. Thanks to the people at Hospice Compassus and Dr. Anna Hulbert for making this possible. We would also like to thank ALL the health care professionals, at the University Hospital in Columbia, at Mayo in Rochester MN, at Barnes in St Louis, and the Emergency Technicians in Fulton, who showed such compassion, care, and expertise every time they worked with him to cope with the challenges of this disease.

Celebration of Robert's life will be 2:00 pm Sunday, October 21, 2018 at the Church of St. Mary Aldermanbury located on the Westminster College Campus, 501 Westminster Ave. in Fulton, Missouri. A reception will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be directed to either Westminster College, Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, or the Fulton Soup Kitchen c/o Debo Funeral Home, 833 Court Street, Fulton, Missouri 65251.

---

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

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"Before he became a Professor of literature at Harvard, and way before he wrote his classic Shakespeare biography, Will in The World, Stephen Greenblatt was an I'll-read-anything kind of kid. One day, he was standing in the campus book store, and there, in a bin, selling for ten cents (good price, even in 1961) he noticed a thin, little volume called On the Nature of Things, by a Roman writer named Lucretius. When he opened it, he found a description of how the universe came to be. Because Lucretius lived a couple of generations before the birth of Jesus, Stephen was expecting a tale of how gods, goddesses, earth, air, fire and water and an assortment of miracles created everything we see, but as he turned the pages, he says 'his jaw dropped' and 'his head began to burst open,' because Lucretius' creation story doesn't feel remotely ancient. First of all, it's a radically secular account, ignoring gods, goddesses, heaven, hell, life after death, and intelligent design, but more surprising, its logic is eerily, almost spookily modern." Read more, or listen to the interview at NPR.org.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 09/19/2011 - 5:20pm by Information Architect.

"Fragments of ancient, rare manuscripts of Greek classical poetry, Greek philosophy and Judeo-Christian Scriptures are being retrieved from papier-mâché-like mummy wrappings on loan to Baylor University -- all part of an international project that will give undergraduate humanities students rare hands-on research. The project, called the Green Scholars Initiative, eventually will include more than 100 universities, with Baylor University as the primary academic research partner. Professor-mentors will guide students through research and publication of articles about rare and unpublished documents, among them an ancient Egyptian dowry contract on loan to Kent State University and an ancient papyrus of Greek statesman Demosthenes' famed "On the Crown" Speech, said Dr. Jerry Pattengale, initiative director and a Distinguished Senior Fellow with Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion." Read more at baylor.edu …

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 09/14/2011 - 1:59am by Information Architect.

"New technology developed by Oxford University’s classics department could help reveal the secrets of historical documents. A spin-out firm is commercialising the scanning device, which uses different wavelengths of light to detect faded or erased ink, for analysing manuscripts and archived documents, as well as modern forgeries. ‘The technical leaps we made mean many ancient documents that were previously unreadable can now be scanned and read,’ said Dr Dirk Obbink, head of the research group that developed the scanner."

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 09/14/2011 - 1:57am by Information Architect.

The Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel will serve as the headquarters hotel for the 143rd Annual Meeting. The Convention Registration area, the Exhibit Hall, all AIA and APA paper sessions, the Placement Service offices, all placement interviews, and most committee meetings, receptions, and special events will be located in Marriott.  The primary guest room block will also be at the Marriott. Some meetings, receptions, and special events will be held at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, located directly across the street from the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. Additional guest rooms have been blocked at the Loews as well.  Links to the online registration system and to information about hotel reservations are now posted on the APA web site.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 09/07/2011 - 3:22pm by Adam Blistein.

From John Gruber-Miller:

I am pleased to announce that the latest issue of Teaching Classical Languages, the online journal sponsored by CAMWS, is now available at http://www.tcl.camws.org.  This issue features two articles and a review article.  The first article asks us to consider the broader question of how do we teach, using the metaphor of genre to frame our reflections. And the second article explores how we teach Latin to students whose first language is Spanish and second language is English. Finally, the third article reviews eight new Latin readers published as part of the Bolchazy-Carducci new Latin Readers series.

This issue lets readers take advantage of TCL's electronic publication.  Readers now have the opportunity to download each article to an e-reader so that they can read TCL in the comfort of their home or favorite coffee shop.  And through the advice and hard work of CAMWS webmaster Alex Ward, readers can make comments on the articles and join in a conversation with other readers (and the author) about ideas raised in each article.

In this issue:

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Tue, 09/06/2011 - 1:17am by .

Read the latest information about the APA's Gateway Campaign including updated lists of donations to six "Friends" funds honoring revered teachers in our field. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 08/19/2011 - 7:40pm by Adam Blistein.

Application instructions for this year's Minority Summer Scholarship Application have now been posted.   The application deadline is December 14, 2011.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 08/17/2011 - 2:24pm by Adam Blistein.

The Loeb Classical Library Foundation will award grants to qualified scholars to support research, publication, and other projects in the area of classical studies during the academic year 2012-2013. Grants will normally range from $1,000 to $35,000 and may occasionally exceed that limit in the case of unusually interesting and promising projects. Three years must elapse after receiving an LCLF grant for sabbatical replacement before applying again for one. From time to time a much larger grant may be available, as funding permits, to support a major project. Applicants must have faculty or faculty emeritus status at the time of application and during the entire time covered by the grant.

Grants may be used for a wide variety of purposes. Examples include publication of research, enhancement of sabbaticals, travel to libraries or collections, dramatic productions, excavation expenses, or cost of research materials. Individual grant requests may be only partially funded. In exceptional circumstances a grant may be extended or renewed. A special selection committee will choose the persons to whom grants are to be awarded and recommend the amount of the grants.  

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 08/16/2011 - 7:30pm by Adam Blistein.

"This week in the magazine, Stephen Greenblatt explains how Lucretius and his poem 'On the Nature of Things' shaped the modern world. Here Greenblatt reads a passage from John Dryden’s translation of 'On the Nature of Things,' and talks with Blake Eskin about how the poem disappeared for a thousand years, how it was rediscovered, and the clash between Lucretius’ ideas and the Catholic church—and also Greenblatt’s Jewish mother." Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/online/2011/08/08/110808on_audio_greenblatt#ixzz1V1u18qeH

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 08/14/2011 - 5:33pm by Information Architect.

The forthcoming digital version of the Loeb Classical Library will aim to make the treasures of ancient literature easier to find for non-classicists. Read more at InsideHighered.com.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 08/02/2011 - 12:04pm by Information Architect.

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