We Filled the Amphora

Campaign for Classics

At the 144th Annual Meeting in January in Seattle, the APA celebrated the triumphant conclusion of the Gatekeeper to Gateway Campaign, steered to its harbor by President Jeffrey Henderson.  The Association honored the Campaign Committee members responsible for this achievement and presented Distinguished Service Awards 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, Jr., David H. Porter, and Michael C.J. Putnam.  Later that month this year’s President, Denis Feeney, published a letter to members describing the projects that the new endowment is already funding and our ambitious plans for the future.

The APA has raised over $3 million that will enable it to continue to transform the field of Classics and to serve students, teachers, and scholars in the 21st century. In 2006 the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) endorsed this Campaign for Classics with an extraordinary Challenge Grant of $650,000, requiring a four-to-one match to secure the entire amount. 
The NEH and subsequently over 1,200 donors responded to the APA’s vision for this Campaign: to build an endowment that would

  • Create sophisticated and accessible research tools for classics teachers and scholars
  • Develop the next generation of inspired, diverse teachers of classics and classical languages
  • Support wider public understanding and appreciation of classical civilization

The Association named this effort the Gatekeeper to Gateway Campaign because our overall goal is to accelerate the transformation of the field of classics from a "gatekeeper" of knowledge to a "gateway" to the insights and artistic achievements of classical civilizations.  For centuries, classical study was the gatekeeper not only of academic but of professional and social advancement in Europe and North America. The intellectual and moral benefits of reading classical texts were taken for granted but often limited to a few.  That is no longer true.  At the dawn of the 21st century, classics is demonstrating its relevance and utility to modern times.  APA’s goal for transforming the field of classical study in America is to make Classics ever more open, accessible, and valuable to students from kindergarten through graduate school, as well as to multi-disciplinary scholars and the lay public across the broad range of fields.

The APA met all requirements of the NEH challenge grant in October 2012.  It raised over $2.6 million in matching contributions and, after retaining $250,000 of the NEH grant for fund-raising expenses, deposited the remaining matching funds ($400,000) into its new Endowment for Classics Research and Teaching.  This endowment now (February 2013) has a value of well over $3.4 million, and its income has already begun to fund a wide variety of projects.  These include the ongoing operations of the American Office of L’Année philologique (the original purpose of the Campaign); improvements to the Association’s teaching awards, summer scholarships for minority students, and TLL Fellowship; and, most recently, awards for teacher training.

In 2012, as the Campaign drew to an end, the APA Board of Directors conducted a strategic planning exercise.  The Board reviewed the changes in the Association and its environment since the beginning of the Campaign and established four broad goals to guide its programs in the near to middle term:  (1) to collect more data about the profession and analyze it more effectively, (2) to make the annual meeting a source of information and communication throughout the year, (3) to increase its use of new communication technologies, and (4) to provide more assistance to current and prospective classics teachers at all levels.

These new goals are in line with the Campaign purposes outlined above, and additional income from the Gateway Endowment will soon be available that will make high quality information about the classical world available in accessible formats to the largest possible audience by using technology in new and exciting ways.

Although no additional NEH matching funds are available, the APA is still accepting contributions to this endowment.  Attach either the PDF or MS-Word version of the form to your gift, or make your gift online.  On the list of Campaign donors you will notice several references to “Friends” groups that have raised Campaign gifts in honor of revered teachers.  Follow this link to see a list of these groups and the donors to each of them.  The pledge form has a section that you can use to join one of these Friends groups.

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