Friday, November 30, 2007


Reinventing the wheel is a required qualification for running a university. Every five years or so a new administrator comes up with an idea which has been proposed—and roundly defeated—before.

And once in a while the proposal becomes policy.

More times than I care to remember there were rumors that the Greek and Latin Department, or Classics Department, depending on the era, was to be merged with some or all of the other language departments of the institution where Ernie toiled for so many years. Quel horreur! It was always in the interest of cost cutting, never based on a philosophical concept of teaching language, literature and culture. Petitions were signed, local dignitaries supported the cause and the danger was averted. There were various pairings—Near Eastern and Asian, German and Slavic—but it wasn’t until this year that the unthinkable happened. The budget crunch in the State of Michigan claimed more victims. The languages merged.

And so tonight we go to a party. Knowing the generous hostess as well as I do, I am confident it will not be a “last” blast, just a significant one.

And if you wonder if the demise of the Greek and Latin Department is a big loss, allow me to point out an article which appeared recently in our local rag.

Athens, Italy! Jack and Ernie, Ken and Katy and everyone who worked for you— we still need you.

1 comment:

Kate said...

At least you don't have to write "Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures" into various documents like those of us still here must do.