By Charlotte Brookins
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recently honored four faculty members with two named associate professorships that will last five years—helping them advance their research and work studying ancient civilizations.
These appointments were previously held for four years each by John Finamore, who retired in spring of 2022.
Bob Cargill, of the Department of Classics, and Brenda Longfellow, of the School of Art and Art History, were named Roger A. Hornsby Associate Professor in the Classics, and Sarah Bond of the Department of History, and Paul Dilley of the Departments of Religious Studies and Classics, were named Erling B. "Jack" Holtsmark Associate Professor in the Classics.
Named faculty positions and professorships honor the academic achievements of faculty while recognizing the generosity of donors to the academic enterprise. Four of the nine CLAS faculty members recently recognized with named professorships are doing work related to the classics.
All four professors come from varying backgrounds and areas of expertise, promoting a unique interdisciplinary approach to the prestigious appointments in the classics.
Professor Craig Gibson, who chairs the Department of Classics, is optimistic about the positive impact these appointments will have on the university.
“These four professors have known each other and worked together for more than a decade,” says Gibson. “With the generous research funding that these named appointments provide, they will be able to advance their own projects, collaborate with each other and with scholars around the world, and promote the University of Iowa as a major Midwest destination for the study of the ancient Mediterranean world.”
Roger A. Hornsby Associate Professor in the Classics
One of two recipients of the Hornsby appointment is Bob Cargill, who teaches biblical studies and biblical archaeology in the classics department.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the announcement,” says Cargill. “I had no idea I was being considered for this named professorship, so when I got the letter from the dean, I was honored.”
Cargill, who came to the University of Iowa in 2011, says he was drawn to Iowa City for its sense of community and how welcoming it was, as well as its focus on public education. He enjoys having the opportunity to give back to students with similar backgrounds to him or facing similar struggles.
“There is a lot I still want to accomplish here at Iowa, including building a robust biblical studies program in the Department of Classics and helping to establish a Jewish studies program,” Cargill adds. “I’m happy when I’m doing hard work trying to make the world a better place for my students and my own kids.”
Brenda Longfellow, who is appointed in the School of Art and Art History, specializes in art history with a special regard to the art, architecture, and hydraulics of the ancient Roman Empire. She is the second recipient of the Hornsby associate professorship. When she heard the news, Longfellow said she was happily taken aback.
“I was so pleased to be recognized with this,” she says. “It means a lot to me.”
Longfellow is especially appreciative of the university’s history of combining interests, especially regarding art history and the classics—two subjects Longfellow works with closely. She says it was this freedom, along with the university’s sense of support and community, that brought her to Iowa.
“I’m really impressed at the new professorships and the cohort of the four of us at the same time,” Longfellow continues. “It really reinforces that idea of classics as this place of good potential collaboration at the University of Iowa, and I look forward to seeing what we do over the next five years.”
Erling B. "Jack" Holtsmark Associate Professor in the Classics
Sarah Bond is one of two faculty members appointed to the Holtsmark Associate Professorship from her role as an associate professor of history. She says she is especially excited about the broadening scholarship under the topic of classics.
“I believe the future of classics is in global antiquity rather than classics as something narrowly defined,” explains Bond. “We need to expand our view of the ancient world beyond just Italy and Greece; if classics is to survive, it needs something that is globally understood, so I believe the future of classics is looking at places like North Africa, India, China, and Mesopotamia.”
Bond says she was drawn to the University of Iowa for its support of the digital humanities, as well as the community offered by the Iowa City area. She was especially appreciative of the dedication of such a large public university toward educating students about the ancient world.
“All of us are very honored by these five-year appointments, but it isn’t about the prestige of the professorship,” Bond concludes. “It’s about reinvesting in the student population. It isn’t about the title, but what you can do with it.”
Paul Dilley was notified of his new appointment as a Holtsmark Associate Professor in the Classics at the end of August, which he holds alongside a joint appointment in religious studies.
“It was a very pleasant surprise,” says Dilley on the appointment. “I am incredibly happy for the acknowledgment and extra support of research. It was certainly a nice thing to hear.”
Dilley came to Iowa in 2011 and cites the university’s long-standing religious studies department and classics department for what drew him to the position. He is especially appreciative of Iowa’s dedication to the digital humanities, both on the graduate the undergraduate level.
“It’s a rarity to find such great undergrad, grad, and doctoral programs in both of my fields,” Dilley says.
Dilley is looking forward to incorporating his experience in the digital humanities into his new named appointment in the classics department.