Anna Campbell – Latin


Aine Pierre, News Editor

Anna Campbell first visited Wake Forest while being recruited to run, but incidentally, she found herself taking the first step on another kind of track: the track toward being a Latin major.

“While I was here, I emailed the head of the classics department asking for information about their program,” Campbell said. “And she actually offered to meet with me while I was on campus. And so that just got me really excited about Wake Forest’s Latin program in particular. So that’s why I decided to pursue that.”

Campbell took Latin throughout high school and says that she loves the challenge that translating the language gives her.

“It’s really challenging, but in a fun way,” Campbell said. “When I do my Latin homework, it never really feels like work. Even though it takes a long time. I just really enjoy reading Latin. I think the first fun part about it is just translating and trying to get the Latin to make English sense.”

“And then of course, once you’ve accomplished that, you have the challenge of trying to figure out what it means and analyzing it as you would English literature,” Campbell said. “And so it’s kind of a two-fold challenge. But I love that. And I also love the bonds that studying Latin creates with the other people and professors in your classes who are also reading it.”

Campbell cited three influential professors in the classics department with whom she worked closely. One of them, Dr. Caitlin Hines, is now an assistant professor of classics at the University of Cincinnati. She also worked closely with Professors T.H.M. Gellar-Goad and John Oksanish, who are still at Wake Forest. Both of these professors had high praise for Campbell.

“[Campbell]’s Latin skills are razor-sharp,” Gellar-Goad said. “Her acuity and attention to detail would give any classics graduate student a run for their money — and she combines those skills with a distinctive inquisitiveness that takes the long view on Roman literature and culture.”

Campbell is incorporating that long view into her senior thesis, which is centered around the Metamorphoses of Ovid, from whence most of the Greek myths in the popular canon come.

“I’m going through the poem, and  I’ve picked three selections that kind of relate to each other,” Campbell said. “So I’m doing an analysis — comparing and contrasting those. And I’m also looking at Ovid’s use of legal and financial language within those selections.”

Oksanish, who first taught Campbell in Introduction to Latin Prose (LAT 212), is advising Campbell on her thesis.

“It has been such an immense pleasure to work closely with Anna this year on her thesis project, an interpretive commentary on selections of Ovid’s Metamorphoses,” Oksanish told the Old Gold & Black. “Particularly during this trying academic year, I valued our weekly meetings immensely.

“I won’t forget taking camp chairs out onto the Reynolda lawn this past fall so that we could meet face to face to discuss her ideas and work through the text,” she said.

Oksanish continued, “I know Campbell will go on to great things and am so glad that she will bring what she learned from her WFU Classics experience with her. It was a privilege to have had the chance to work with her.”

As she prepares to leave the Wake Forest Classics department behind, Campbell offered this piece of advice to prospective Latin majors.

“My advice would be, to take as many classes as possible, and try to get as many different professors as you can because every professor at Wake Forest has something really unique and great to offer,” Campbell said. “And when you find a professor, your tendency is to sign up for more classes with them,” Campbell said. “But I think the great thing about the classics department is all the different perspectives I got on Latin from the different professors.”

“I would also tell these students to try to go to the talks,” Campbell added. “The department usually has speakers come in from different universities, and they’re just really great.”