Marco had another fantastically successful academic year in 2017-18, and we are looking forward to more good news in the months ahead. This anticipation, however, is tinged somewhat with sadness, as this will be our first year without Stuart Riggsby, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and one of the earliest supporters of the Marco Institute. Stuart not only promoted Marco as an administrator, but he generously supported and regularly attended all our programs— the Riggsby Lecture, of course, which was named for him and inspired by his love of medieval and Renaissance Mediterranean culture, but also our spring symposium, our graduate fellows evening when graduate students present their work, and at just about every other Marco event on campus. Stuart also helped endow our summer Latin program. He did not just donate to it. As soon as he could, he signed up to become one of its first students. Stuart and his wife Kate continued to support Marco as it grew, helping, for example to jumpstart the Riggsby Library, which is becoming more and more the heart of graduate medieval studies here at UT. One of my greatest privileges as Marco director happened annually after the Riggsby Lecture. Every year after this presentation, the guest speaker and a few lucky faculty would withdraw for dinner with Stuart and Kate. We would talk about history and literature, the Mediterranean, culinary culture, the history of opera and recorded music – you never could be entirely sure where the conversation would go. More than anyone else, Stuart brought the Marco community together, and it is an honor to celebrate that aspect of his legacy as Riggsby Director of Marco.
It is also an honor to celebrate all the achievements of my brilliant Marco colleagues—our dual NEH winners, Anne Hélène Miller and Sara Ritchey; the prestigious publications of former Riggsby Director Heather Hirschfeld; the award-winning Alison Vacca and Lauren Whitnah; the fabulous graduate and undergraduate students who are the life’s blood of our work here. You can read more about their successes in the following pages.
Marco’s raucously successful pilgrimage continues, even if this year the celebration carries a hint of sadness with it.