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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All APA and AIA members, be they Grizzled comic veterans or Dewy-eyed tiros, are invited to participate in The 12th Annual Staged Reading of The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance (CAMP): Plautus’ Rudens, directed by Alison Futrell (University of Arizona) and John Given (East Carolina University). This is the journey of a plucky young woman, kidnapped, torn from the arms of love, shipwrecked, waterlogged, epiphanied, menaced and manacled, to be bound again at last by the salty ties of tender devotion! This is the rambunctious musical production populated by pimps, piscatores, prostitutes, pirates, peons, and paramours! This is the rope-y tug-of-war to tug your heartstrings and tease your toes to tapping!

Rudens aims to be an uproarious extravaganza. There will be singing. There will be dancing. There will be silliness. We need actors able and willing to play big, even in small roles. We also need costumers and other off-stage crew. We need you!

The Rudens performance will take place on the Friday evening, January 3, 2014, at the APA-AIA Meetings in Chicago. Rehearsals begin two days prior to the performance, on January 1. (Travel on December 31 may be necessary.) Actors are expected to familiarize themselves with scripts in advance, though memorization is not required. Acting experience is not required, but is not unwelcome.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/29/2013 - 1:43pm by Adam Blistein.

I am sorry to announce that the AIA has terminated its participation in the Joint AIA–APA Placement Service.  This unfortunate decision dissolves a partnership that has lasted for more than three decades.  We at APA discouraged this step because we believe it will put an additional burden on many candidates and institutions both at the joint annual meeting and throughout the hiring process.  In moving ahead, we are determined to continue to offer an excellent Placement Service to our registrants, even as we work on upgrading what has been offered in the past. 

In 2011 the APA independently commissioned the creation of an online system to handle Placement Service registration, the immediate posting of new position listings on a private web site, and the scheduling of interviews at the annual meeting.  During the current academic year, Information Architect Sam Huskey and his colleague Alex Ward made several improvements to this System, including programming that issued an e-mail notification to registered candidates on the day following the posting of a new position.  Sam and Alex are now at work on further improvements for 2013-14, particularly some steps to make the registration process easier for both candidates and institutions.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/28/2013 - 7:43pm by Adam Blistein.

The Academy /Vivarium Novum /is offering ten full tuition scholarships for high school students of the European Union (16-18 years old) and ten full tuition scholarships for University students (18-24 years old) of any part of the world. The scholarships will cover all of the costs of room, board, teaching and didactic materials for courses to be held *from October 7, 2013 until June 14, 2014* on the grounds of the Academy’s campus at Rome.

Application letters must be sent to info@vivariumnovum.net by July 15 in order to receive consideration.

A good knowledge of the fundamental of Latin and Greek is required.

The courses will be as follows:

   1. Latin language (fundamental and advanced)
   2. Greek language (fundamental and advanced)
   3. Latin composition
   4. Roman History
   5. Ancient Latin literature
   6. History of ancient Philosophy
   7. Renaissance and Neo-Latin literature
   8. Latin and Greek music and poetry
   9. Classics reading seminars

View full article. | Posted in Degree and Certificate Programs on Thu, 05/23/2013 - 2:22pm by Adam Blistein.

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new website on the reception of ancient Greek tragedy, hosted by the Open University of Cyprus: http://eumenides.ouc.ac.cy.

As part of a research project, coordinated by Dr. Vayos Liapis and funded by the Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus, the website aims at cataloguing and analysing the various ways in which ancient Greek tragedy and tragic myth have been adapted, reinterpreted, revised or re-imagined in Modern Greek poetry and theatre from the late 19th century to the present day.

Among other things, the website contains a fully searchable database of modern Greek poems and plays which set out to adapt, update, parody, or otherwise rewrite classical Greek drama. At present, users have access to entries on the poetry of George Seferis and Yiannis Ritsos, as well as to audiovisual material.

For further information please visit our website at: http://eumenides.ouc.ac.cy. Follow us on Twitter (@EumenidesProjec) and Facebook (Eumenides Project) in order to receive notifications for new entries, publications, news and forthcoming events.

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Tue, 05/21/2013 - 5:59pm by Adam Blistein.

We regret to report the death of Calvert Watkins, winner of the 1998 Goodwin Award of Merit for his book, How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics.  Prof. Watkins spent his entire teaching career at Harvard, and the University's memorial notice appears here.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 05/20/2013 - 1:25pm by Adam Blistein.

A Conference at the University of Michigan
September 20th–21st, 2013
Angell Hall 3222

The idea of large-scale Roman missteps—whether imperial domination, sexual immorality, political corruption, greed, religious intolerance, cultural insensitivity, or the like—has been a notion “good to think with” since antiquity, and persists in familiar comparisons between the Roman Empire and the present-day United States. This conference seeks to go beyond a merely thematic discussion to re-examine the connections between “Roman error,” broadly conceived, and basic features of the reception of antiquity including: misunderstanding and misprision, repetition and difference, the subject’s relation to a (remembered or unconscious) past, performance and illusion, and links between text and image. If the Romans “erred,” what are the consequences for Rome’s inheritors as they attempt to construct a stable relation to Rome as a flawed “source” or model? We ask not simply, “Are Rome’s errors ours?” but, “How does Roman error figure in the reception of Rome itself?”

FRIDAY, September 20th

2:00 Welcome

Error and Empire

2:15 Phiroze Vasunia (University of Reading), “The Roman Empire and the Error of Civilization”

3:00 Margaret Malamud (New Mexico State University), “Worse than Cato? How to Think about Slavery”

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Fri, 05/17/2013 - 4:53pm by .

From the New York Times:

School was out, and Jack Kaufmann, who teaches 8th and 9th grade Latin at the elite Hewitt School in Manhattan, was on his way to catch the train home to Westchester.

That’s hardly surprising, except that Mr. Kaufmann is 71 years old and has been teaching for only the last three years. For much of the last 32 years, the dapper, silver-haired Mr. Kaufmann was a partner at the law firm Dewey Ballantine.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said of his law career, chatting over a quick coffee before heading home. “But at a certain point, I felt that I didn’t need to keep practicing.”

So in 2002 Mr. Kaufmann, who had enough money to retire comfortably, left the firm and began taking college classes. First he took a class on Chaucer, then another on the “Divine Comedy” by Dante and still another called Heresy in the Medieval World. He found the work so fascinating it led to a master’s degree in Classics (Latin and ancient Greek) at the City University of New York — and eventually to teaching jobs, first at the Browning School, then at Trevor Day and then at Hewitt.

Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/business/retirementspecial/retired-and-back-in-school-for-the-degree-not-just-the-fun.html

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 05/15/2013 - 3:07pm by Information Architect.

Four classics teachers have received the first set of APA Pedagogy Awards.  One of the major goals of the APA’s recently and successfully completed capital campaign, Gatekeeper to Gateway:  The Campaign for Classics in the Twenty-first Century, was to ensure that an inspiring, well trained teacher would be available for every school and college classics classroom.  A subcommittee of the Joint Committee on the Classics in American Education, whose membership is selected from both the APA and the American Classical League, reviewed twenty-one applications requesting funds to support a variety activities that would improve their teaching and their students’ experiences in the classroom.  The awards received by the four successful applicants are funded by income derived from the following contributions to the Campaign’s Research and Teaching Endowment:  a major gift from an anonymous donor, a contribution from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS), and donations to the Friends of Zeph Stewart Fund. 

Rachel Ash (North Gwinnett High School, Norcross, GA) was awarded $1,000 to pursue an M.A. in Latin through the University of Florida’s distance learning program.

Andrew Carroll (Regis Jesuit High School) was awarded $600 to develop a series of videos about Roman and Etruscan sites as part of a curricular revision introducing a ‘flipped’ or ‘inverted’ classroom.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/15/2013 - 1:25pm by Adam Blistein.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) has released a report, It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success, summarizing the findings of a national survey of business and nonprofit leaders. Among other things, the survey reveals that 74 percent of business and nonprofit leaders say they would recommend a twenty-first century liberal education to a young person they know in order to prepare for long-term professional success in today’s global economy.

“While policy leaders have been focused intensely on what college students are choosing as their majors and what salaries they are being paid shortly after they graduate, business leaders who actually hire college graduates are urging us to prioritize the cross-cutting capacities a college education should develop in every student, in every major,” said Mildred García, president of California State University, Fullerton and chair of AAC&U’s board of directors. “No matter what careers students seek, their college education must equip them with intercultural skills, ethical judgment, and a sophisticated understanding of the diversity of our society and of any successful business or organization.”

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 05/13/2013 - 2:54pm by Adam Blistein.

The National Humanities Center offers 40 residential fellowships for advanced study in the humanities for the period September 2014 through May 2015. Applicants must have doctorate or equivalent scholarly credentials. Young scholars as well as senior scholars are encouraged to apply, but they must have a record of publication, and new PhDs should be aware that the Center does not normally support the revision of a doctoral dissertation. In addition to scholars from all fields of the humanities, the Center accepts individuals from the natural and social sciences, the arts, the professions, and public life who are engaged in humanistic projects. The Center is also international and gladly accepts applications from scholars outside the United States.

Applicants submit the Center's form, supported by a curriculum vitae, a 1000-word project proposal, and three letters of recommendation. A downloadable application form and instructions may be found at the Center's website which contains more information about the Fellowships.  Applications and letters of recommendation must be postmarked by October 1, 2013.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 05/13/2013 - 1:53pm by Adam Blistein.

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