On March 4, Brock University Classics students and professors, as well as visitors from as far away as Simon Fraser University in British Columbia gathered for a celebration of ancient Greece. The Brock University Archaeological Society’s (BUAS) 28th annual Scholarly Symposium celebrated the academic career of Dr. Richard Parker, who has taught Greek language and literature and Greek history at Brock for much of his career. Due to Parker retiring this year, BUAS decided to dedicate their annual symposium to him.
“30 of the 50 years that Brock Classics has existed, Richard Parker has been a part of it and it’s a very impressive record of service to classics and to Brock and to this department,” said Dr. Carol Merriam, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, in her opening remarks. “It is very appropriate and much appreciated that the Archaeological Society has dedicated this traditional celebration to Dr. Parker’s career.”
BUAS began in 1989 and since then has been organizing a themed symposium every year. Current BUAS President Sydney Bryk and Vice President Carol Buckingham introduced the event with the history of the group and of Dr. Parker’s career at Brock. They were followed by a series of speakers discussing everything from the finer points of translating ancient texts to the obscure life of a Ptolemaic princess. The speakers included Dr. David Mirhady from Simon Fraser, Dr. Claude Eilers, Associate Professor of Classics from McMaster University, Dr. Sheila Ager, Professor of Classics from the University of Waterloo, and Mohammed Bhatti, a PhD candidate in the Classics department at the University of Cincinnati. Also speaking was Dr. Roberto Nickel, Assistant Professor in the classics department at Brock gave a presentation entitled “Wedding and Celebration in Sappho and Alcaeus.”
Following the other speakers, Dr. Parker gave his own talk entitled “The Celebration of Triumph in Greek Comedy.”
The theme of this year’s event might not be immediately apparent based on the subjects presented by the speakers. What they have in common though, is Dr. Parker. Each of this year’s speakers have been colleagues, or students, or both of Dr. Parker at some point over his extensive career. Each speaker told personal anecdotes and jokes related to their time working with Dr. Parker, and at the end of the event Brock Classics Department Chair Dr. R. Angus K. Smith presented Dr. Parker with a gift of Greek art as a thank you for his time at the university.
The Brock University Archaeological Society is a group organized and run by students that promotes classical studies and archaeology on and off campus. They spend a significant amount of time raising money to help Brock’s classics students participate in archaeological practicums and study tours organized by Brock Classics professors in Greece, Turkey, and Italy.
In order to celebrate the dual occasions of the 50th anniversary of the Brock Classics Department and Dr. Parker’s retirement, a scholarship has been established in his name. The Richard W. Parker Travel Scholarship is awarded annually to a major in the department who is studying Classics or ancient Greek language to support their travel to the Mediterranean.