Dear Parent(s) of Prospective Students,
At this stage, your son or daughter has suggested that they want
to study Classics in college. You may be skeptical about sending
your child off to spend four years studying ancient Greece and
Rome. I hope that this letter will help assuage some of your
The most pressing question you may have in your mind is what
your child will do with a B.A. in Classical Studies. How will
studying Latin, Greek, or the history and culture of the ancients
help your child be gainfully employed in an ever changing and
increasingly technological world?
Some students of Classics naturally see themselves as future
teachers, whether at the college level or at the elementary, middle
school, or high school levels. Our world will always need dedicated
educators who can inspire future generations to life-long learning,
that stamina that will enable students to meet the demands of
uncertain futures. Though language programs of all sorts have seen
decline in public schools, recent research suggests that Latin is
fairing better than other languages, and we have seen an increased
interest in Latin particularly from alternatives to public schools.
As the public schools are cutting Latin, others interested in
education are insisting on the opportunity for their children to
experience the ancient world through its language.
Yet this makes only a small portion of students who will major
in Classics. Gregory Petsko, Professor of Biochemistry and
Chemistry at Brandeis University, who majored as an undergraduate
in Classics, recently wrote, "Of all the courses I took in college
and graduate school, the ones that have benefited me the most in my
career as a scientist are the courses in Classics, art history,
sociology, and English literature. These courses didn't just give
me a much better appreciation for my own culture; they taught me
how to think, to analyze, and to write clearly. None of my sciences
courses did any of that."
The person who majors in Classics brings a broadly-based,
interdisciplinary perspective on the world to whatever career path
they choose. Classics students have thought about their place in
the world and their own personal values by reading history,
literature, and philosophy. They have developed a mental
flexibility that will not only enable them to earn a job upon
graduation, but also adapt as the job itself changes.
Some Classics students will go on to law school, applying their
knowledge of ancient oratory and philosophy to their studies.
Others take their passion for Latin and Greek to seminaries to
pursue church ministries. Some turn their creative attention to
movies and television, whether creating modern versions of ancient
stories (Troy, HBOs Rome) or stories deeply
rooted in Classical themes. Still others will take into the
business world the skills they have acquired in analyzing texts,
processing data, and formulating their own ideas.
I hope this letter has helped calm your anxieties about your
child's future. Please feel free to contact me if you have
questions about our Classics program here at Butler. My email
address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck as you work with your child to determine the best
place for them to develop into the adults they will become.
Christopher Bungard, Assistant Professor of Classical