Awards and Scholarships

2010 CAMWS Award
for Special Service

Herbert and Janice Martin Benario

Recipients of the CAMWS Special Service Award, now in its tenth year, have made special contributions to the promotion of Latin and Classical Studies in CAMWS territory. They need not be classicists or CAMWS members. Suitable candidates can be parents, community members, or school administrators who have supported local Latin programs in notable ways, companies that have donated money or other resources for the promotion of Latin, etc. Still, it is a matter both of great pride and of great pleasure that this year’s two recipients are not only members of CAMWS, but members who have who have made CAMWS what it is today; not only classicists, but classicists known for their work in establishing and expanding programs.

The recipients of the 2010 Special Service Award are our own Herbert and Janice Martin Benario. One nominator spoke of them as having dedicated their lives, more than any other couple he has known, to the classics. Collectively, they have given more than a hundred years to the promotion of teaching, researching, and studying classics, both Greek and Latin, as well as attentiveness to the influence of classical studies.

Go back in your imagination to the time of the second World War. Janice Martin, a 1943 Goucher graduate, worked with the WWII Enigma project until her office closed in September 1945. Subsequently, she earned first a master’s degree and then, in 1952, a Ph.D. in classical languages, Greek and Latin, at John Hopkins University. Meanwhile, Herbert Benario matriculated from City College of New York in 1948 and remained in New York to complete a master’s degree in 1949. From there, he went to Johns Hopkins to study with Henry Rowell for a doctorate in Classics, which he completed in 1951. No one has directly said that the romance of their lives started here with the romance of the classics, but that's how I imagine it.

This period, the early 1950's, also began their life-long commitment to the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. Many of us, high school teachers and professors alike, recall how the Benarios, through CAMWS, have made a significant difference in our careers. Both Janet and Herbert Benario have modeled the joy of professional involvement, inspiring teachers, professors, and students of classics with the beauty of the spoken language (who could forget Herb Benario's ovationes!), the on-going influence of classical studies (who could forget Janice Benario's presentation on the Perseus panels of Burne-Jones!), the thorough scholarship each has displayed (one nominator credits his career in classics to the inspiration provided by Herb Benario's work on Tacitus), and the utility of conference attendance as a mechanism for professional development (I myself became an avid conference attendee because of their 1979 presentation on Vesuvius).

Still, CAMWS is not the only organization through which Herbert and Janice Benario have influenced others to share their appreciation of the classics. In the fifties, Herbert Benario led the Vergilian Society's Summer School. In the sixties, the Benarios became Georgians: Herbert Benario to serve for twenty-eight years as professor of classics at Emory University, and Janice Benario to serve for twenty-five years as professor of classics at Georgia State University, while also teaching at Emory and at Agnes Scott. Janice Benario's strong support of FLAG (the Foreign Language Association of Georgia) brought the organization from its early, fledgling days to the position of strength which it now holds. Her commitment to supporting the teaching of the classics has been equally evidenced by her work in the American Philological Association, where she strove untiringly for professional recognition and involvement of high school teachers. Herbert Benario's publications (which I believe now number over three hundred, including ten books) are a model for us all, both in their abundance and in their quality. Scholarly work on Tacitus, on whom Dr. Benario is an internationally recognized authority, has particularly benefited from his attention. Having strengthened the study of classics during their active careers, both Benarios, in retirement, contribute to programs available through Emory University's Center for Lifelong Learning. As if to remind us that retirement will offer not a hiatus from work but more leisure, perhaps, to devote to work which has been a lifelong passion, both Benario have continued research, publication, and professional involvement. They are indeed exemplars for us all.

Appropriately, the most generous travel grant which the Classical Association of the Middle West and South awards to its members, the Benario Award, is named in their honor. Equally appropriately, today we honor their lifelong commitment to the classics with the 2010 CAMWS Special Service Award.

--Alice Sanford



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