After three weeks, the 144th Annual Meeting in Seattle is receding into history, and it is a good moment to take stock of what a successful meeting it proved to be. The host department from UW-Seattle, led by Ruby Blondell and Alain Gowing, did a superb job, and we thank them all for helping to make the Meeting such a success. Even the Northwest weather cooperated to make Seattle a great venue for us: on my fourth visit to Seattle I finally got to see Mt. Rainier. There was a tremendous program of panels and performances, even if your officers, including the President, were unable to emerge from their seclusion in committee rooms to enjoy more than a small fraction of the riches on offer.
In the Plenary Session, we honored a remarkable group of teachers and scholars for their achievements. From the point of view of our Association’s history and future, the most significant moment in the Plenary Session was the celebration of the triumphant conclusion of the Gateway Campaign, steered to its harbor by President Jeffrey Henderson. It was a delight to see the Campaign Committee members being honored, and to see Distinguished Service Awards presented to the three visionary and energetic APA members who provided such outstanding leadership from the beginning to the end of the Campaign: Ward W. Briggs, David H. Porter, and Michael C.J. Putnam.
The Campaign has been such a part of our lives for the last few years that it is important to take stock of what a remarkable achievement it has turned out to be. For a comparatively small society such as ours to raise over $3 million is truly extraordinary. Major sums were contributed by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ($625,000), NEH ($650,000 in matching funds), and by our sister organization in the UK, the Classical Association ($265,000). But of particular note, I think, is that we received contributions from over 1,200 donors, and that more than 1,000 of these donors were members of the APA. This means that more than a third of our individual members contributed to the Campaign—a signal achievement. Not many colleges or universities can claim such a high response to an appeal, and the response of our members is a significant testimony to the loyalty that members of the APA feel towards their organization and towards the cause of Classics overall.
It is, after all, the cause of Classics that this Campaign has been all about, and it is already changing the APA, and what we all do as Classicists, for the better. Thanks to the Gateway Campaign, the future of the American Office of L’Année philologique is now secure right into that indefinite future for which development campaigns have to plan. Every time you read, or write, a work of scholarship you are indebted to L’Année philologique, and it was absolutely right that the foundation of the Campaign should be the goal of securing the future of this indispensable bedrock of what we do. Worth noting also is that, in addition to its generous support of the Campaign, the Mellon Foundation has independently provided a number of other grants that are making the online version of L’Année even more useful.
It was also part of our goal from the start to develop the next generation of inspired, diverse teachers of Classics and Classical Languages. The new awards for teachers are an important commitment to that objective, encouraging and acknowledging outstanding teachers. Every member of the APA is in the field, ultimately, because of at least one inspirational teacher. The importance of these life-changing individuals was attested by the success of the various Friends Funds to which members contributed so generously in honor of the teachers who inspired them: the Friends of Zeph Stewart Fund is being dedicated to the Awards for Classics Teachers.
We also made a commitment to increasing support for the Minority Scholarship in Classics, and a gift from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation to the Campaign is permitting us to fulfill that promise. Have a look at the list of previous recipients to see what a difference these awards can make to young people at a crucial phase in their development. Read about the impact that digging at Stabiae and attending the Epigraphical Congress in Berlin made on the formation and motivation of Mahmoud Akeen Samori (awardee in 2012); or read about the possibilities opened up to Timothy Castillo (2010) by an award that made it possible for him to take an intensive Greek summer course in preparation for graduate school. Many more young people will be able to have such doors opened for them in the future thanks to APA members’ support.
More broadly, we aim to make the APA website a gateway for anyone classical for anything classical. We are working on this now, aiming to transform our website so as to provide access to research tools and make it possible for individuals to reach the groups or the sites that they need. These individuals will of course include our usual current constituency of graduate students and faculty, but they will also range from the high school student writing a paper on Cleopatra to the former Classics major who wants to check up on what’s happening in the area in which she once wrote a Senior Thesis. Classics was the leader in Digital Humanities from the very beginning, and we will continue in that role. There are plans in place for a Digital Latin Library, for example; read here for a taste of what will be possible for students and scholars once this resource is enabled.
None of this would have been possible without the well-informed and movingly generous support of the members of the APA. Thank you, everyone.