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Laurelle LeVert

BA’89 Combined Honours (Classics and English), MA’91 (Classics)

Associate vice-president, University of New Brunswick (St. John)

As is often the case for students who study Classics, the choice isn’t always conscious, but a sort of calling or seduction—and this was certainly the case for alumna Dr. Laurelle LeVert. She initially came to the University of King’s College from Sydney, N.S. to study Journalism; she was drawn by both journalism and the allure of the Foundation Year Program. “FYP changed my life,’ she recounts. “The entire experience, from the readings to the lectures, the tutorials, the discussions, the all-nighters, the mind-blowing concepts – all influenced me greatly. It felt a bit like my DNA was being re-written.”

The FYP year not yet ended, Dr. LeVert had already transferred out of Journalism, “without ever taking a journalism course,” and into Classics. This move eventually led to her completing a Combined Honours degree in English and Classics. Dr. LeVert was also a student in the first offering of the intensive six-week summer Latin course, about which she says, “After this, the next logical step seemed to be a Master of Arts in Classics.” LeVert’s thesis was on Roman Law, specifically the role of augury in Roman politics, which she wrote under the supervision of Dr. Peter Kussmaul. Eventually, however, the medieval world sunk its claws into her and she moved into Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, “though having been pretty appalling at Greek sort of helped seal the deal,” she remembers.

Dr. LeVert credits the rigour of her studies in Classics at Dalhousie for helping her develop the stamina and study habits to make it through a PhD. “The interdisciplinary nature of the field and the rigour of studying languages have continued to contribute to my professional life since. I look at the world through a variety of filters because of the Classics training I received.”

For the same reasons, Levert sees Classical study as beneficial to any student: “I believe that when exposed to the level of expectation that being a successful Classicist entails, many students would embrace that challenge wholeheartedly. Critical exposure to philosophy, literature, history, religion and languages that form the foundation upon which western civilization is built is a pretty wonderful thing to experience.”