Barry McNamara  |  Published June 08, 2022

MMXXII Has Been Banner Year

Monmouth’s classics department earned multiple national and campus awards for excellence during the 2021-22 academic year.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College’s Department of Classics had quite a school year.

It surely would’ve been enough for the department to put on another successful Classics Day, which it did the first Saturday in October, and to graduate another strong group of seniors, which it did during Commencement weekend in May.

But in between, the department received special recognition at every turn, with individuals within the department receiving accolades, to go along with group honors.

Classics Day V

When classics professor Robert Holschuh Simmons arrived on campus in 2014, he brought with him an idea he started at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro – Classics Day.

“The thing about the classical world is that one cannot travel there,” said Simmons. “So when we put on this event, it’s an opportunity for people to have that sort of immersive experience that is not possible generally.”

Monmouth’s fifth installment of Classics Day featured a new addition – a collaboration with the College’s theatre department, which staged adaptations of classical works as part of its annual theatre festival, known as FusionFest.

“The theatre department gets a lot of credit,” said Simmons. “Their participation made the event as a whole even more vibrant and energetic.”

Outside sources agreed. The Classical Association of the Middle West and South’s Committee for the Promotion of Latin and Greek honored Classics Day V with its Outstanding Promotional Activity award.

“This is, in many ways, the best honor we’ve received yet,” said Simmons. “And the thing that made this one stand out for me was how much student ownership there was. The responsibilities that the students took on and their level of professionalism was outstanding.”

Highlander Awards

The honors for the department kept coming during April’s annual Highlander Awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to the campus community.

The Classics Club received the Service Excellence Award, while Simmons was selected to receive the Advisor Excellence Award. Megan Dailey, a freshman classics major from Pendleton, Indiana, was honored with the Emerging Leader Award.

Students of the Year

There was another honor to come later in the month for Dailey, who is also majoring in art and educational studies. She was chosen as the Freshman Woman of the Year by the Tau Pi chapter of Mortar Board.

The same organization named classics and English major Olivia Matlock of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, the Senior Woman of the Year.

Both students were actively involved in putting on Classics Day V and both earned a Maxima Cum Laude distinction on the National Latin Exam.

A student who could one day follow in their footsteps is incoming freshman Kailyn Gore of Marlton, New Jersey. Gore, who received one of the College’s prestigious Trustees’ Scholarships, was referred to Monmouth by her high school Latin teacher, Mathew Underwood ’04.

“Mr. Underwood has repeatedly said that Monmouth College changed his life for the better, and he’s probably been one of the best teachers I’ve had,” said Gore, who plans to major in international studies and continue her study of classics at Monmouth in preparation for law school.

CLASSICS SCHOLARS: Professor Robert Holschuh Simmons is flanked by award-winning classics student... CLASSICS SCHOLARS: Professor Robert Holschuh Simmons is flanked by award-winning classics students Megan Dailey '25 (on left) and Olivia Matlock '22 following April's Honors Convocation.

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