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Monmouth's Hintzke receives prestigious classics award

Barry McNamara
Daniel Hintzke ’18 of Colona, Ill.
Daniel Hintzke ’18 of Colona, Ill., has received a prestigious Manson Stewart Undergraduate Award from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. The award was presented this year to five outstanding young classicists in the 32 states and three provinces within the CAMWS region.

Hintzke said he plans to use the $1,000 prize to purchase more texts, as well as travel to conferences. He is scheduled to attend two upcoming events, including the spring CAMWS meeting, where he will present research linking George Lucas’ story of Anakin Skywalker (who eventually becomes Darth Vader) in the Star Wars saga to Sophocles’ story of Oedipus in Rex and Colonus.

In a typical year, there are six Manson Stewart Undergraduate Award recipients, including multiple winners from Big Ten schools and other large research universities.

Hintzke, who is a history and classics double major, is the second Monmouth student to win the award. He joins Emma Vanderpool ’17, who was a recipient two years ago.

To the two Monmouth professors who wrote letters of recommendation for Hintzke, the award comes as no surprise.

“Daniel has been an excellent, committed student who has put in considerable time to learn classics for himself and to teach it to others,” wrote Bob Holschuh Simmons.

Added Associate Professor of History Fred Witzig: “I have found Daniel to be uniquely conscientious, hardworking, intellectually minded and attentive to detail. He hopes to be a college professor someday and has shown more aptitude for that work that anyone else I have advised.”

After serving in the Navy and attending a community college, Hintzke became interested in Monmouth College through Emeritus Professor of History William Urban. A friend of Hintzke’s had read and recommended Urban’s The Teutonic Knights, among other works, and Hintzke was excited to learn that the scholar lived and worked down the road from Colona in Monmouth.

Although Urban was in the process of retiring, Hintzke soon found another ally on the history faculty, forging a strong relationship with Witzig. After thinking about the Latin classes he was taking to help with his study of medieval history, Hintzke added a major in classics.

“I didn’t intend for it to be that way, but I got more and more interested in classics, reading authors such as Plutarch and Thucydides,” he said. “The medieval period and the study of antiquities are so linked, and it just kept feeding into my passion.”

That passion included Hintzke spending about $200 on eBay to purchase his own set of classical armor so he could more fully participate in Classics Day.

“He took on the task of leading the Roman military contingent at the expansive Classics Day we offered last spring,” said Simmons. “He thoroughly researched the topic, bought a set of armor for himself, and skillfully designed a demonstration of Roman military maneuvers, complete with background context, for the students who volunteered to be his soldiers for his event and the attendees of Classics Day.”

And during last fall’s Classics Day, Hintzke manned the gladiatorial combat booth and demonstrated techniques in front of more than 300 spectators.

Witzig noted that Hintzke “demonstrates a competence in late Roman history unusual for an undergraduate,” in part because of the relevant books he purchases on his own.

Hintkze plans to study medieval history in graduate school, and Simmons said his classics training “is giving him valuable background knowledge to pursue that goal.”

“He knows what he wants, and he has the skills to get there,” Simmons said.