Seneca wrote “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” He could have been writing about David Perlmutter. David is the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication here at the University of Iowa. He is a documentary photographer, writes on political communication and persuasion, has been interviewed by the major news networks, has appeared on the Daily Show with John Stewart, and (perhaps most important of all to classicists) he has adopted Classics as his second love. He is a major supporter of the Classics, a human being on the lookout to do a kindness.
David's parents were educators, and his mother was born in Greece. It was natural, therefore, that he take an interest in the Classics. Here at the University of Iowa he has encouraged his own Journalism students to take a second major in Classics. He has been a regular at the Classics Coffee Hours (which the department holds regularly for its undergraduate majors), and has gladly assisted in handing out awards and talking with Classics majors. Last year he kindly offered an annual gift to be used to support students who travel abroad to do study, research, or field work over the summer. As was fitting, he named the award after his parents, the Howard and Fotini Perlmutter Prize in Classics. Students compete for this award by submitting a paper that they have written in a Classics course. A committee of Classics professors reads the papers and selects the best one for the prize. Last year's prize winner, Elijah Fleming, is a senior this year and will be remaining for two more years at Iowa to complete a Masters in Classics before applying elsewhere for a PhD in archeology. It was David's gift that made her visit to an archeological site in Gangivecchio, Sicily possible.
The Department of Classics at the University of Iowa is very fortunate to count on such a benefactor, who, like Maecenas, fosters study and education through travel, an essential item in every scholar of the classics. We, therefore, recognize Professor David Perlmutter with a special service award and commend him for his hard work on behalf of the classics.