2019 CAMWS Special Service Award
Mr. Dan Sloan and Mrs. Tamara Sloan
Dan and Tamara Sloan, owners of The Mill Coffee & Tea, a local Lincoln, NE coffee chain, have been exceedingly generous in their support of the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for the last two years, and they are certainly deserving of recognition.
Last April, our department put on its first-ever Homerathon, a marathon reading of Homer’s Iliad in English, which was conceived as a student-run, public-facing event designed to highlight the value of Classics in the twenty-first century. A handful of local businesses offered donations or discounts for the Homerathon, but Dan and Tamara went above and beyond both before and during the event. In preparation for the Homerathon, they coached our student organizers on how to make their pitch to other local businesses to try to solicit their backing; they invited several of our students to promote the Homerathon on “Friday LIVE from The Mill,” a weekly radio program hosted by NET Nebraska (the local NPR station) at The Mill’s Haymarket location; and then they themselves donated endless coffee for hundreds of Homerathon participants on the day of the event. We are working with them again this year on the second annual Homerathon, which promises to be bigger and better than last year’s.
Our department’s other major public event is an annual Halloween battle re-enactment, which always precedes our students’ Halloween party. This year, Dan and Tamara not only donated coffee and hot chocolate to the event, but they also put The Mill’s bakery to work to design and provide a wide range of creative and tasty goodies to keep the students going all night long, including most memorably a chocolate fountain of “blood.” Unlike their contributions to the Homerathon, which gave them an opportunity to promote their business to hundreds of students, university administrators, and members of the local community, their contributions to the Halloween party presented no discernible benefit to their business; they simply wanted our students to have a good time.
In the interest of full disclosure, we should note that their son is currently a student in our department majoring in Classics. Nevertheless, we have no reason to believe that their generosity is intended to influence our grading of their son (not that it would!); on the contrary, they often seem to be using their offerings of support as opportunities to inculcate in their son (and others) a strong work ethic, a keen sense of responsibility, and a commitment to bettering the community. As friends of UNL Classics, Dan and Tamara are ideal recipients of this award.