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Gold and Silver and Bronze

Posted by Classics Department on June 5, 2017 in News


Second Blast of the Trumpet: Classics News for Spring Convocation 2017

Governor General’s Gold Medal

Aaron Shenkman

Aaron Shenkman, First Class Honours in German and Classics, 2014; MA 2016, has captured the 2017 Governor General’s Gold Medal for the most outstanding Master’s graduate in the Humanities and Social Sciences at Dalhousie.

Our Joseph Gerbasi (MA 2014) took it in 2015, Emma Curran (First Class Honours and the University Medal in Classics, King's Silver Medal, 2010; MA 2012) in 2013, Dr Timothy Riggs (First Class Honours and the University Medal in Classics 2007; MA 2009) in 2010, and Msgr Dr Hans Feichtinger (MA 2003) in 2003. The selection is made by the Faculty of Graduate Studies; only one is awarded in the Humanities and Social Sciences each year.

Aaron’s MA thesis, entitled “Multus Homo Es: Desire, Conquest, and Identity in Catullus’ Carmina”, was written under the direction of Dr Peter O’Brien. In its analysis of the dynamics of erotic desire and sexuality in the Carmina, it treats this work as Catullus’ response and deliberate challenge to the prevailing, largely violent, Roman conception of “masculinity.” Aaron presented an eponymous paper at the 2016 annual meeting of the Ancient Philosophy Society, in Portland, Maine, and was awarded the inaugural "emerging scholar" prize by the APS.

One-Third of the Gold!

Classics MA Graduates have won Five Governor General’s Gold Medals in Fifteen Years. A Unique Accomplishment for a Department at Dalhousie.


The King’s Silver Medal.

Benjamin von Bredow

Benjamin von Bredow, with First Class Honours in Classics and a Minor in Early Modern Studies, was awarded the King’s Silver Medal at Encaenia 2017. This Medal goes to the student with the best degree in Arts and Science at King’s.

Benjamin came to Classics from Barrie,Ontario, and the King’s Foundation year Programme. In the Department, besides his excellent work on the languages, his studies have focused mostly on Aristotle and Augustine. Successful nationally in the Classics Association Sight reading and Essay competitions, at King’s Ben is very involved in the Chapel, including singing in its Choir, and cavorts in the Theatrical Society. He has led two prize wining groups of singers in the Pythian Games (“The Hankey Hymns: a Tribute” and “Penthean Passion Chorale”) and published in Pseudo-Dionysius. In his spare time, Ben is a pianist, an egg tempura painter, and a Shakespeare enthusiast.  Ben hopes to receive Holy Orders and is off this Fall for fully funded graduate study of liturgics at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.


Six Silver Medals in Fifteen Years

More than One-Third.

A Unique Accomplishment for a Department at King’s.

Our students regularly receive this recognition of academic leadership at King’s. Two years ago it went to Ariel Weiner, with First Class Honours in Classics and Religious Studies. This Fall, Ariel is crossing the border to begin a PhD in Comparative Literature and German at Northwestern University working in affiliation with the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Cluster. Hilary Ilkay, with First Class Honours and the University Medal in Classics, won the Silver in Medal 2013. Upon graduating from King's and Dalhousie, Hilary interned at Lapham's Quarterly in New York and Penguin Books in London, England. Hilary has just completed a MA with Distinction in Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research, having written a thesis on Diotima and the female philosopher. Gavin Keachie (First Class Honours and the University Medal in Religious Studies) was the King’s Silver Medalist in 2012 and has won Silver again this Spring. Gavin just graduated as a Master of Divinity from Trinity College in the University of Toronto with the Governor-General’s Silver Medal there. Gavin is a postulant for Holy Orders in the Anglican Diocese of Toronto. As well this year he will receive a MA in Religious Studies from UofT. Emma Curran, who is entering the last year of her PhD programme in Classics at Princeton, took the Silver in 2010. Dr Carolyn MacDonald, First Class Honours and the University Medal in Classics; MA, 2008, received the King’s Silver Medal in 2007. Carolyn is now in a tenure track post in the Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. Dr Florence Yoon, First Class Honours and the University Medal in Clas­sics, stood at the top of King’s with the Silver in 2003. With a DPhil earned while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, she is now an Assistant Professor of Greek Language and Literature at the University of British Columbia.

All these outstanding students are graduates of the King’s Foundation Year Programme.


A Killam & Five of Twenty-One

A Killam Trust Pre-doctoral Scholarship & Five of Dalhousie’s Twenty-one Canada Graduate Scholarships for Masters Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Cristalle Watson (First Class Honours and the University Medal in Classics, 2017) a Killam Trust Pre-doctoral Scholarship and a Canada Graduate Scholarship

Dwight Crowell Canada Graduate Scholarship

 Lauren Vanderdeen (First Class Honours in History and Classics and the University Medal in History, 2016), Canada Graduate Scholarship

Torin Vigerstad (First Class Honours and the University Medal in Classics, 2016), Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Justin Wollf, Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Three of these Graduate Scholars introduce themselves to you.

Cristalle Watson came to Dalhousie with three previous degrees: one in science (Biochemistry Co-op Honours, University of Victoria, 2004) and two in music (B. Mus., University of Victoria, 2007 and M. Mus., University of Ottawa, 2009). From 2009 to 2015, she worked as a full-time piano teacher and performer, operating her own music studio in Ottawa, and she has also lived in Calgary, Saskatoon, Vancouver, and Victoria before coming to Halifax. Her undergraduate years at Dalhousie have been rich and rewarding—highlights include seminars with Drs Hankey and Diamond in philosophy and Drs O’Brien, MacLeod, and Varto in Latin and Greek; volunteering for Res Publica; publishing articles in Pseudo-Dionysius; presenting at the 2016 AUUHCC; and invoking Tolkien and the Muses at the Pythian Games (see photo). Her Master’s thesis, supervised by Dr Hankey, will explore the meters and structure of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy. Cristalle plans to pursue a PhD in Classics with the long-term goal of a professorship.

Dwight Crowell from Woods Harbour, Nova Scotia, tells us: After graduating from Acadia Divinity College with a Masters in New Testament Studies, I came to the Classics Department to learn more about the background of the New Testament world. During my first year, my studies focused on Neoplatonic philosophy. To my surprise and delight, I sincerely enjoyed these texts and, gradually, philosophy has moved from a background consideration to a central focus for me. For my thesis, supervised by Dr Wayne Hankey, I plan to consider Aristotle's idea of human happiness as an imitation of the divine and how Thomas Aquinas develops this idea. 

Dwight is one of these Four Bacchants from Dr Fournier’s Latin class. Alan Rempel is another (and yes those are hockey sticks)

Justin Wollf from Saskatchewan is entering the thesis stage of his MA. Since his arrival, Justin has focused on Greek and Latin languages, and Hellenistic and Medieval philosophy and theology, specifically texts studied in Dr Wayne Hankey’s Augustine and ‘Gods in the Flesh’ courses. Under his supervision, Justin will work on his Canada Graduate Scholarship proposal: “The Expansion of the Self in Augustine’s Confessions.” Justin’s reason for being in the Department has changed since he and Katie became parents to Flora Anne Wollf in January. Justin says he is here “for no practical purpose or advantage, but to become a better reader, and so a better father.”

Apart from studies, Justin has photographed and compiled two albums of the Seabegs collection of ancient Greek and Roman coinage, a numismatic collection that spans between the Department of Classics and the University of King’s College Library. He has also helped organize and contributed to the graduate student journal PSEUDO-DIONYSIUS and is the Assistant for “Wisdom Belongs to God.”

Dalhousie's other 16 CGS awards in this category were distributed between the other Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences departments with graduate programmes, and the Faculties and programmes eligible for these awards (Architecture, Planning, HUCD, Economics, Psychiatry, Psychology, and SRES).


Twenty-four Distinguished Graduates

A Strong Class in Classics, Religious Studies, and Arabic

Five with First Class Honours: 3 in Classics, 1 in Religious Studies, 1 in both.

Five with Honours:  4 in Classics, 1 in Religious Studies. Three Majors: 2 in Classics, 1 in Religious Studies.

Eleven Minors: 7 in Classics, 4 in Religious Studies or Arabic.

Cristalle N. Watson, First Class Honours in Classics & the University Medal in Classics, moving to graduate study in Classics; Allison C. Graham, First Class Honours in Classics and Religious Studies & the University Medal in Religious Studies, off for a year of study in Russia; Matthew Green, First Class Honours in History of Science and Technology and Classics and the University Medal in the History of Science and Technology; Benjamin A. von Bredow, First Class Honours in Classics and the King’s Silver Medal, off to graduate study at Notre Dame. Lillian Stafford, First-Class Honours in Religious Studies and Early Modern Studies; Olivia G. Tucker, Honours in Classics; Patrick Gravel, Honours in Contemporary Studies and Classics; Sabina L. Wex, Honours in Classics; Kyril P. Wolfe, Honours in Classics, off for funded graduate study in theology at the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley; Marina Kilada, Honours in Religious Studies and History. 

Medalist Allison Graham with her parents from Victoria, British Columbia, at the Classics Breakfast for Encaenia Graduates

A Happy Day Well Started: Allison, Benjamin, Lillian, Olivia, and Kyril, all graduates of the Foundation Year Programme, enjoyed Breakfast with the Classics Department, friends and family on Encaenia Day. Vice-President Kim Kierans, Honours, 1983, and Dr Neil Robertson, Honours, 1985; MA, 1986, Director of the Foundation Year Programme and Adjunct Professor of the Department, represented King’s. Dr Robertson is presenting a paper to “Wisdom Belongs to God.”


Prizes: National, Departmental, Pythian

Once again our students have placed well in the Canada Classics Association National Sight-reading Competitions: Cristalle Watson placed second in Senior Latin Sight-reading, and together with Benjamin von Bredow, received Honourable Mention in Senior Greek. Alan Rempel placed third in Junior Latin. Cristalle is also the winner of the Nicole Knox Memorial Prize for the best undergraduate student in the Classical languages. The winner of the Don Hambrick Book Prize in Ancient Greek is Marielle Nicol; the Patrick Atherton Book Prize in First Year Latin goes to Jesse Gorman.

At the Pythian Games, presided over with great aplomb and success by Dr Christopher Grundke, the prizes flowed like ambrosia for end of Term needy students. Howard Murry Prize ($250) — Benjamin von Bredow, Emma Graveson, Jen Hall, Alan Rempel (Penthean Passion Chorale). Chair's Prize ($150) — Ethan Speigel (Selections from Cicero's 2nd Catiline Oration). Alumni Prize ($100) — Shari Clarke (Time Travels) / Allison McLay (Princepissa Sacco Charteao Induta). Patrick Atherton  Memorial Prize ($100) — Torin Vigerstad (Virgil's 1st Eclogue. Res Publica Prize ($75) — Tanisha Chakma (Kathak: Classical Indian Dance).

Grace Kelly Carline,  who will complete a Major in International Development and a Minor in Arabic Studies next year, is the winner of the first Arabic Composition Competition at Dalhousie. The prize ($250) was awarded by the Honorary Consul of Lebanon, Mr Wadih Fares.

The presentation took place during an open dialogue between the Honorary Consul and students in the Dr Rodica Firanescu’s Arabic culture class on the value of languages in building a successful career. The event was attended by the FASS Dean, Dr Frank Harvey; the Chair of the Department of Classics, Dr Michael Fournier; Dr Alexander Treiger from Religious Studies; the FASS Associate Dean Academic, Dr Krista Kesselring; and lots of students (67 finished the Arabic culture class this year). Four students delighted the audience with their recitation in Arabic from the poetry of the famous Lebanese-American writer Gibran Khalil Gibran.


Dr Mel Thomas gives Generously

Dr Mel Thomas, formerly Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics of University of the Pacific in California, currently living in Pictou, has donated almost three hundred fine books to the Department. Prominent topics include art and archaeology, sexuality in the ancient world, classical literature and commentary, dictionaries and grammars, magic and religion. There are seven rare books, including a 1715 edition of Camden's history of Elizabeth I, formerly in the collection of Burgess Meredith and Paulette Goddard. We are most grateful. Some will be added to the Departmental Library and others given to students and faculty who can make good use of them.


Extending Our Family

On Sunday, April 30th, Elizabeth King (MA 2013) gave birth to Silas Barry King. Elizabeth (Curry) and Dr Evan King (First Class Honours in Classics 2010, MA 2012) currently at Cambridge University are both speaking at “Wisdom Belongs to God” and “God Everyday and Everywhere.” Liz is the daughter of the Rev’d David Curry (Honours in Classics and German, 1977; MA, 1978). In the same liturgy, in the King’s College Chapel, the Rev’d Dr Gary Thorne (MA 1983) baptised Henry Curran, the son of Emma and Martin Curran (First Class Honours in Classics and German 2010, MA 2012), and Walter Bullerwell, the son of Peter (First Class Honours in Classics 2009, MA, 2012 and Erin (Wagner)Peter is giving a paper at “Wisdom Belongs to God”. Martin is the son of the Rev'd Dr Thomas Curran (MA 1975) who is speaking at “Wisdom Belongs to God” & “God Everyday and Everywhere” and the late Dr Jane Curran.



Justin Singer (MA 2014) has just completed a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, focused on combinatorics and optimization, and is moving to a richly funded PhD in the Institute of Cognitive Science at Carleton University. Justin will concentrate on the development of emergent mathematical features in the time evolution of artificial neural networks.

Joel Tichanoff (BA in Classics 2016) will join Jacob Glover (First Class Honours in Classics and Contemporary Studies 2013, MA 2015) and Tamara Watson (First Class Honours and the University Medal in Classics 2015, MA 2016) at the Schulich School of Law. All three are graduates of the King’s Foundation Year Programme.

Kevin Gibson (Honours in Classics 1993, MA 1995) has been made a member of the Order of the Ancient Commoner at King’s College. Kevin is a graduate of the King’s Foundation Year Programme.

Keith Kampen, finishing a MA thesis on Skepticism in Augustine for Dr Hankey, has been appointed a Teaching Fellow within the Shuyuan Western Classics Department in the Independent Schools Foundation Academy of Hong Kong.

Nael Abd-Elrahaman (BA in Religious Studies and Minor in Arabic Studies 2015) received a MA in Theology from Acadia University at the Spring Convocation.

Nadira Al-Nasleh (Minor in Arabic Studies 2016) received a Master's degree in Education and Life-Long Learning from Mount Saint-Vincent University.

Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen Murray (Honours in Classics 1985, MA 1994) has moved from Ottawa where he was Supervisor of Music for the Canadian Forces to the NATO Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia, where he works at long term planning. Dr Emily Parker (Honours in Classics 2007, MA, 2010) is Administrator, Communications/Content Manager, NetGain Partners Inc., Toronto. She is giving a paper at “Wisdom Belongs to God”. Stephen and Emily are graduates of the King’s Foundation Year Programme.


Dr Hankey becomes A Dalhousie Emeritus Professor

Dr Wayne Hankey has been appointed Emeritus Professor of Classics by Dalhousie University from July 1st. This will be celebrated at the Reception closing “Wisdom Belongs to God” at 1pm on Wednesday June 21st in the King’s College Library. His portrait will be unveiled and hung in the Reading Room during a musical walk hand in hand in the Garden of Eden. Should you wish to attend, email us at Dr Hankey will continue to supervise graduate theses and in the Winter Term of 2018, will teach a seminar on Augustine’s Confessions. Classics / Religious Studies 3413 and 5070.

 “Wisdom belongs to God” Colloquium with “God Everyday and Everywhere”

Held at and co-sponsored by the University of King’s College. Inquiries to Justin Wollf at All are invited to this week of philosophy, literary study and theology.

 Registration is necessary for participation. Registration in advance will be of great help to the organizers.

  See for details and registration.

The panels and major addresses for this week long festival: Sunday June 18th to Saturday, June 24th, 2017 are now fixed. Addresses: Michael Harrington, “The Divine Name of Wisdom in the Dionysian Commentary Tradition.” Timothy Riggs, “The Light of Truth: The Role of the Good in Human Cognition.”

Olivier Boulnois, “What is Freedom?” Wayne Hankey, “The Conversion of God in Aquinas’ Summa theologiae: Being’s Trinitarian and Incarnational Self-Disclosure” & “Augustine’s Trinitarian Cosmos.” Eli Diamond, "The Trinitarian Structure of Aristotle's Living God and its Mortal Imitations." Evan King, “The Ground: Time, Eternity and the Friends of God in Eckhart and Tauler.” Patrick Graham, “Contemporary Islamic Theologies.” Douglas Hedley, “Charles Williams’ Theoanthropos.”

Panels: Symbolic Theology, Prayer, and Philosophy; Socrates, Philosophy, and the Wisdom of Divinity; The Self, Matter, Bodies & God; Augustine’s Confessions; Intellect & Its Beyond; Neoplatonic and Cartesian Self-Knowledge & Heideggerian Ontotheology; Virtue; Platonism’s Diverse History.

 A Foundation Year Programme Event: Of the FORTY scholars speaking at the Colloquium and Conference more than half were graduates of or teachers in the Foundation Year Programme: Dr Stephen Blackwood, Dr David Butorac, Peter Bullerwell, Rev’d Dr Barry Craig, Rev’d Dr Tom Curran, Rev’d David Curry, Dr Eli Diamond, Dr Simon Fortier, Dr Michael Fournier, Dr Matthew Furlong, Dr Patrick Graham, Dr Wayne Hankey, Daniel Heide, Aaron Higgins-Brake, Dr Evan King, Dr Gregory MacIsaac, Dr Emily Parker, Fr David Puxley, Dr Neil Robertson, Dr Matthew Robinson, Dr Ian Stewart, Rev’d Dr Gary Thorne, Dr Nic Thorne, Dr Matthew Wood.

Colloquium materials, including drafts of Dr Hankey’s papers will also be found on his site


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