The Last Score of Years
The focus of the Association's life since the middle of the 1980s has been to maintain equilibrium in its activities. The prime emphases, namely to encourage students to continue their study of Latin and to recruit, to help train, and to retain Latin teachers, have been limited not by will but by the availability of resources. CAMWS is now, as I write in 2003, a much smaller organization than it was two decades ago, and the influence of the Classical Journal, as reflected in circulation, is down even more proportionately. The membership figure hovers in the 1600s; subscriptions have fallen below 2600. No longer the largest classical organization in the country, CAMWS nonetheless remains much the largest of the regional organizations. Indeed, it has recently grown in the number of its constituent units, as Arizona in 1991 became the thirty‑first state to affiliate.
The preceding paragraph essentially reproduces that which began chapter nine of the organization's history, The Classical Association of the Middle West and South. A History of the First Eighty Years, written by the present author, and published by the Association in 1989. Details, of course, have been changed to update it, but the fact that the same framework serves shows that the Association's course, determined by a continuing while varying body of officers and committee heads, remains largely unaltered.
The character of the Association, nonetheless, has undergone some change. Until 1992, one had to live within its territory in order to become a member. By constitutional revision in that year, members-at‑large now constitute a substantial portion of the total constituency. Inquiries concerning affiliation continually arrive from disparate groups or geographic entities outside the Association's present boundaries. If CAMWS expands to include regional associations which are themselves smaller than many of the regions into which it is presently divided, its nature and function may be significantly altered.
The officers and Executive Committee have devoted more time and consideration to this challenge than to any other over the last decades. CAMWS may well become much more of a national organization. A committee concerned with long‑range planning is presently contemplating these prospects, both philosophical and pragmatic.
Yet the challenges of society and educational philosophy continue unabated. In spite of the significant success that various school systems have had in introducing disadvantaged children to the study of Latin, the language is still, in the eyes of many, a prerogative of the elite. Elimination of programs, in both the secondary schools and colleges, is easy, because only a few are directly affected.
So, at least, it is thought. Successful responses there have been, nationwide, but elimination of programs, departments, and teaching positions continues inexorably. What may we anticipate the state of our subject will be two lustra hence, if more and more school systems introduce a middle school or junior high program between elementary school and high school and offer only modern languages in them? How many AP programs will survive? Will many students have enough Latin in high school to reach the point in college where they may truly command and enjoy the language?
Finances continue to play a major limiting role in the Association's ability to enhance the cause for which it was founded. Receipt of the Manson A. Stewart legacy of $102,000 in 1986 enabled it to support the efforts of secondary school teachers to improve their knowledge and teaching credentials. In 1999, the Association received an unrestricted gift from the estate of Eunice Kraft, who taught at Western Michigan University for more than forty years and had been a co-founder o the Michigan Classical Conference. The CAMWS Good Teaching Award became the Kraft Award for Excellence in Secondary School Teaching, and a parallel award was established to recognize excellence in college teaching. Awards to capable secondary school students, on the basis of distinguished examination performance, encourage them to continue their study of the classics in college. Some of those who have served the Association well are annually honored. Yet, were the resources of the Association substantially larger, it could do much more. Consequently, the steady erosion of membership causes much concern; at what point will a critical mass be reached, when CAMWS will no longer be able to do what it has for so long undertaken to do?
The current financial state is, if not parlous, very serious indeed. The substantial operating reserve and the long‑term rise in the value of the stock portfolios which permitted an increase in scholarship funds and other awards have been substantially eroded in the recent economic climate.
The Association’s demographic make-up has changed dramatically over the century of its existence. At the foundation, primacy in its activities fell to the great mid‑western universities, Chicago, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan. In the first thirty-five years, the University of Chicago furnished five presidents, the entire south only seven. Present membership in the Association among these great institutions, and many of their sisters, is very low, with some large departments recording only one or two. At the 1990 meeting in Columbia, MO, it was reported that the total membership had decreased 23% over fifteen years, 40% over twenty. At the Atlanta meeting in 1994, the loss over the previous decade had reached two hundred. This trend has, alas, continued over the last ten years. The number of members from outside our territory has plummeted, and library subscriptions to Classical Journal have similarly dropped.
Conversely, the south has grown in its relative participation and activity. Some of the largest departments of classics in the country are found here, such as Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina. Of the last forty presidents, 23, more than half, have been affiliated with southern institutions. Nor should one overlook the rise in significance and activity of the western areas of CAMWS, which have hosted several Association meetings and produced a number of presidents and other officers. The geographical center of the Association, with its thirty‑one states and three Canadian provinces, is, for all practical purposes, in the southeast, nearer the Mississippi River than the Atlantic Ocean.
Further, what had begun as an organization embracing both college and university faculty and school teachers has now essentially become a college organization. Fewer secondary (or primary) school teachers join, and few of these ever attend an Association meeting. Very few, again, have their students participate in contests or themselves apply for grants. In 1992, at the Austin meeting, there was emphasis on pedagogical sessions for the Saturday sessions, and this practice has continued in subsequent meetings, with promising consequences.
Everyone knows how overwhelmed many teachers are, particularly successful ones. After a day of five or six classes, with as many as one hundred fifty students, how much energy or time do such persons have for further participation in the classical cause? JCL is closer to home and can embrace many youngsters; ACL offers more directly for the teacher, both at its meetings and in its publications. Many an issue of Classical Journal will be put aside without much attention, because it contains little, if anything, of use in the classroom. Yet the Committee for the Promotion of Latin has been available for assistance in any number of ways to make teachers' efforts easier and more productive. It has been one of the Association's most effective organs in linking the center with the periphery.
However, the reader should not conclude from the above that gloom is pervasive. CAMWS remains healthy in comparison with many other organizations, with its own publication and a regularly appearing Newsletter, and a financial situation which continues on a generally even keel. In 1991, there was a deficit which required transfer of $11,000 from the stock portfolio to cover operating costs. At the same time, with the transfer of the Association's office from Furman University to Brigham Young University, new computer equipment was purchased, both for the maintenance of records and for Desk Top publishing of the journal. This required borrowing another $9,000 from the portfolio. This portfolio, which grew dramatically during the halcyon days of the stock markets’ rise through much of the 90s, has in recent years suffered dramatically, yet is still well above the levels of a decade ago.
The loans just mentioned have long since been repaid, and the investment in Desk Top publishing has more than paid for itself. The Association has, perforce, fully entered the computer age, with essentially all its activities and accounts so recorded; one consequence is that its various activities are ever more centralized. A secretary‑treasurer now must have among his or her qualifications mastery of the computer.
Another example of centralization is the fact that the secretary-treasurer has taken over almost all the one‑time duties of the local committee for the annual meeting. The committee has essentially only two functions: the preliminary screening of likely hotels and the manning of the registration desk. The day may not be far off when the Association will choose a convention site without consideration of a host institution (or institutions).
What then of the future, as we recently entered a new millennium and now celebrate our centenary? We can not control changes in general educational philosophy, but we can continue to support the languages and the subjects we love, to which we have devoted our lives. In 2002, a Centennial Fund was established, the beginning of annual giving campaigns. We can strive so that generations still to come may also thrill at the majesty of Vergil and Sophocles, marvel at the insight of Thucydides and Tacitus, gape admiringly at the remaining monuments of vastly important civilizations. These are noble ‑ and necessary ‑ tasks, which CAMWS can help accomplish given adequate resources. In 1926 membership was above 4600, with CJ’s circulation over 6000. Is the goal of 2500 members unrealistic, in a nation whose population is now about double what it was then? Surely not; let us all exert ourselves in our various ways.
I shall conclude with a slightly up‑dated repetition of the final paragraph of the Association's History:
One hundred years have now passed since W. G. Manly at the University of Missouri and several of his colleagues had a vision of a regional association to benefit classical studies. It not only still survives, it flourishes in many respects, and is iuvenis rather than senex in enthusiasm and imagination, in its devotion to bonae artes and bona opera. Vivant studia classica, vivat Societas Classica Medio‑Occidentalis et Australis. May there be another updating of its history at the dawn of the next century.
HERBERT W. BENARIO
The following material updates fasti which appear in the History's Appendices. Copies of the CAMWS History are still available from the office of the Secretary‑ Treasurer, Professor Anne H. Groton, Department of Classics, St. Olaf College, 1520 St. Olaf Avenue, Northfield, MN 55057-1098. The cost, including postage and handling, is $6.50.
1989‑90 David F. Bright, University of Illinois and Iowa State University (resigned)
1989‑90 Michael Gagarin, University of Texas
1990‑91 Kenneth F. Kitchell, Jr., Louisiana State University
1991‑92 Joy K. King, University of Colorado
1992‑93 Karelisa V. Hartigan, University of Florida 1993‑94 Roy E. Lindahl, Furman University (resigned effective January 1,1994)
1994‑95 Kathryn A. Thomas, Creighton University (from January 1, 1994)
1995‑96 William H. Race, Vanderbilt University
1996-97 Helena R. Dettmer, University of Iowa
1997-98 John F. Hall, Brigham Young University
1998-99 James M. May, St. Olaf College
1999-2000 John F. Miller, University of Virginia
2000-01 Christopher P. Craig, University of Tennessee
2001-02 James S. Ruebel, Ball State University
2002-03 Niall W. Slater, Emory University
2003-04 Jenny Strauss Clay, University of Virginia
1981-90 Roy E. Lindahl, Furman University
1990-96 John F. Hall, Brigham Young University
1996-2004 Gregory N. Daugherty, Randolph-Macon College
RECIPIENTS OF OVATIONES
1989 Norma Goldman, William J. Napiwocki
1990 Sally Davis, Roy E. Lindahl
1991 Martha Abbott, Edward E. Best
1992 Bobby LaBouve, Michelle and Robert Wilhelm
1993 Kathy Elifrits, Oliver C. Phillips
1994 William W. de Grummond, Kenneth F. Kitchell, Jr., Robert W. Ulery, Jr.
1995 Naidyne Brown‑Bridwell, Michael Gagarin, Ross S. Kilpatrick
1996 Ward W. Briggs, Jr., Jeffrey L. Buller, Cathy P. Daugherty, Daniel B. Levine
1997 John Breuker, Theodore A. Tarkow, Kathryn A. Thomas
1998 George Edward Gaffney, Karelisa V. Hartigan, John F. Miller
1999 Ladislaus J. Bolchazy and Marie Carducci, Anne H. Groton, John F. Hall, William H. Race
2000 Carter Stubbs Drake, Eddie R. Lowry, F. Carter Philips
2001 Leon Golden, Barbara A. Hill, Stanley A. Iverson
2002 Helena R. Dettmer, Michele V. Ronnick, Thomas J. Sienkiewicz
2003 Christopher P. Craig, Jane E. Phillips
RECIPIENTS OF SEMPLE, GRANT, AND CAMWS/BENARIO SCHOLARSHIPS
1989 Princess Dillard, Richmond, VA; Christopher Francese, Austin, TX; Richard King, Bloomington, IN 1990 Patricia Bell, Guelph, ONT; Joseph Schott, Columbus, OH; Amy Smalldon, Miami, FL
1991 Christina Clark, Madison, WI; Eric J. Lunger, Colorado Springs, CO; Suzanne Olsen, Salt Lake City, UT
1992 Dave C. Fletcher, Port Charlotte, FL; Kathryn Schafer, Athens, GA; Kris Schwickrath, Bloomington, IN 1993 Polly Hoover, Madison, WI; Nathalie R. Roy, Baton Rouge, LA; Joan M. Trimbach, Nashville, TN
1994 Paul M. McBreen, Gainesville, FL; Cindy Pope, San Antonio, TX; Kathryn B. Roth, Athens, GA
1995 Estelle P. Bayer, Richmond, KY; Emil A. Kramer, Cincinnati, OH; Wilma H. Lovejoy, Fort Myers, FL
1996 Laura A. Delossier, WI; Thomas White,VA
1997 Sue Bonvallet, Columbus, OH; Amy Rountree, Madison, WI; Anne Shaw, Lawrence, KS
1998 Betsy Dawson, Chapel Hill, NC; Elizabeth Gildrie Kann, Athens, GA; Jane VanLandschoot Woods, Boulder, CO
1999 Neil A. Coffee, Chicago, IL; Eric Dugdale, Chapel Hill, NC; Karen F.B. Wang, Ann Arbor, MI; Noelle Kirsten Zeiner, Bloomington, IN
2000 Michael P. Fronda, Columbus, OH; Arti Mehta, Bloomington, IN; Michael J. Powers, Charlottesville, VA
2001 Gillian McIntosh, Columbus, OH; Elizabeth S. Olson, Boston, MA; Gail Cecilia Patton Polk, Athens, GA
2002 Michael Baumann, Tucson, AZ; Susan Belmonte, Roswell, GA; Rebecca Edwards, Bloomington, IN
2003 Sonia Isaacs, Seattle, WA; Mary McHugh, Madison, WI; Alice Yoder, Charlotte, NC