Classical Studies Honors & Prizes
Eta Sigma Phi Honor Society
Since 1971, the CNELC Department has been proud to house the Epsilon Beta chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the national honor society for students of Latin and/or ancient Greek. The purposes of the society, in the words of its constitution, are
- To develop and promote interest in classical study among the students of colleges and universities
- To promote closer fraternal relationship among students who are interested in classical study, including inter-campus relationships
- To engage generally in an effort to stimulate interest in classical study, and in the history, art and literature of ancient Greece and Rome
The CNELC faculty who teach Classics and the officers in the society plan and host the initiation ceremonies, bringing the department together for a celebration of our students’ successes. We currently have four student officers for Spring 2021 - Spring 2022:
- Prytanis (President) - Caroline D.
- Hipparchos (Vice President) - Hayden S.
- Grammateus (Secretary) - Gabrielle C.
- Chrysophylax (Treasurer) - Max M.
For more information, please contact us.
Each year, the department offers awards to students in recognition of their exceptional efforts and in appreciation for their future contributions to the field.
The Elton Prize recognizes the student with the highest average in the most advanced level of Latin language study. The prize fund was endowed in 1860 by the Rev. Romeo Elton to honor his friend, the Rev. William Staughton, first president of the Columbian College.
The Latimer Prize is awarded to the graduating senior majoring in classical studies or classical archaeology with the highest average in their major courses. The prize was endowed in 1973 by John Francis Latimer, who served as a professor of classics and administrator at the university for 35 years.
Endowed in 1865 by the Rev. Romeo Elton, the Elton Prize recognizes the student with the highest average in the most advanced level of Greek language study.
Since 2017, this certificate has been awarded based on a vote by the GW classical studies faculty.
- Elton Prize in Greek
2021: Shadow Curley, Hayden Smith
2020: Leah Robertson
2019: Garrett Dome, Eve Svoboda
2018: Harper Hansen
2017: Not awarded
2016: Katherine Bradshaw
2015: Katherine Bradshaw, Harry Rosenberg
2014: Not awarded
2013: Joseph Pacheco
2012: Paul Sebastian
- Staughton Prize in Latin
2021: Marguerite (Meg) Smith
2020: Natalie Wright, Marguerite (Meg) Smith
2019: Tessa O'Rourke, Marguerite (Meg) Smith
2018: Harper Hansen, Yand (Charlotte) Luo
2017: Allison Gartrell and Tessa O’Rourke
2016: Katherine Bradshaw
2015: Katherine Bradshaw
2014: Katherine Bradshaw, Shannon Delaney
2013: Katherine Bradshaw
2012: Joshua Markowitz
- Latimer Prize in Classical Studies
2021: Rebecca Aaron, Mary Oehler
2020: Ronni Farid
2019: Garrett Dome
2018: William Berkery
2017: Allison Gartrell
2016: Katherine Bradshaw
2015: Emily Marcus, Katherine Williamson
2014: Adam LaFleche
2013: Adrianne Lazer and Alex Zafran
2012: Jonathan Warner
- Classical Association of the Midwest and South Award in Classical Studies
2021: Natalie Wright, Caroline Disarro, Gabrielle Centurione
2020: Sophia Carroll, Daniel Israelsson, Hunter Bruce
2019: Amanda Drake
2018: Harper Hansen, Sydney Thatcher
2017: Allison Gartrell, M. Claire Davis
History of the Classics Prizes at GW
The awarding of prizes is an old and venerable tradition in academia. Ever since the Greeks devised wreaths of olive, laurel and wool for winners of their national contests, prizes have been created to honor those who excel in civilized activities. Some of GW’s own classics prizes date back to the 19th century.
Staughton and Elton Prizes
In 1860, Romeo Elton established a Staughton Prize in honor of the Reverend William Staughton, first president of Columbian College, “to be given to the best Greek and Latin Scholar of the junior and senior class who sustains an unblemished character.” Five years later Elton donated funds for another award, later named in his honor, for the senior student having the highest average in the study of Greek language and literature.
Romeo Elton began his career as a Baptist pastor, but left his pastorate for health reasons and went on to teach Greek and Latin at Brown University. He returned to his role as pastor towards the end of his life and died in Boston in 1870 at the age of 80. According to the obituary notice in the Brown University Necrology he had no children. In the will he drew up in 1868 he bestowed the greater part of his estate upon institutions of public beneficence, including his alma mater Brown University, the Baptist Missionary Society of London, the American Bible Society of New York — and to Columbian College, a sum of approximately $16,000 to endow a chair in philosophy.
It is not known precisely why Romeo Elton left so handsome a bequest to the Columbian College. He had previously made small gifts to establish the two prizes, but a search of records at GW and Brown University clarifies some aspects of his relationship with the college. Respect for his friend William Staughton, first president of the Columbian College, and continuing contacts with successive presidents and several professors in the college likely explain the background of his gift. Elton’s gift represents an early example of remembering an institution in a will. The Elton Chair in Philosophy still exists, and the Elton and Staughton Prizes continue to be awarded annually.
In 1956, Dr. John Francis Latimer, professor of Latin and Greek and chair of the GW Classics Department, was concerned that so few prizes had been awarded during and after World War II due to the lack of qualified candidates. He therefore recommended that prizes be awarded to the outstanding students in the most advanced classes in Latin and in Greek, whether or not they were juniors or seniors. In 1973, Latimer established a prize “to be awarded to that graduating senior with the most outstanding record as a major in the Department of Classics.”
Since 1937, the four prizes we give out today have been almost continuously awarded. From time to time the same student might win two of the four awards, but in 2016, Katherine L. Bradshaw became the first student to be awarded three: the Elton, Staughton and Latimer prizes.