The James M. May Lecture in Classics was endowed in 2015 to ensure that the study of Greek, Latin, and the classical world continues to thrive at St. Olaf College. Every year the Department of Classics invites a prominent American or international scholar to come to the campus as a guest lecturer. The scholar delivers a public address, visits classes, and meets with students, faculty, and other members of the community.
Funded by generous contributions from alumni and friends, the lecture series is named in honor of James M. May, Professor of Classics, who retired from St. Olaf in 2017 after a distinguished 40-year career as teacher, scholar, administrator, and mentor for generations of students.
The inaugural lecture, “Isocrates and Cicero: Ancient Orators in the Modern Classroom,” was delivered by Dr. Terry L. Papillon ’80, Dean of the College and Professor of Classics at the University of the South, on Monday, March 27, 2017, in Viking Theater. An archived stream of the lecture is available here.
The 2018 May Lecture, “Philology and the Future of Work,” was delivered by Dr. Gregory R. Crane, Professor of Classics and Winnick Family Chair of Technology and Entrepreneurship at Tufts University, on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Library 525. A recording of the lecture is available here.
The 2019 May Lecture, “Foundling Plots in Greek Drama,” was delivered by Dr. Gwendolyn Compton-Engle ’92, Professor of Classics and Chair of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Cultures at John Carroll University, on Thursday, April 25, 2019, at 7:00 p.m in Viking Theater. An archived stream of the lecture is available here.
The 2020 May Lecture, “Contesting Muses,” will be delivered by John F. Miller, Arthur F. and Marian W. Stocker Professor of Classics at the University of Virginia, on Thursday, March 12, at 7:00 p.m. in Viking Theater. NOTE: Regretfully, this year’s lecture has had to be postponed.