USU students perform well at Latin competition

Students representing the classics disciplines in Utah State University’s Department of History returned from the Yengich Latin Competition with five of the top eight awards. The event is an annual statewide contest in Latin translation. An award ceremony was held Wednesday, April 14, in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah. Students from the state’s three universities with Latin programs — Utah State University, University of Utah and Brigham Young University — compete for cash prizes at the competition. The Nick A. Yengich Latin Competition is held every year with support by Ronald Yengich, a Salt Lake City attorney, in honor of his father, Nick. Students compete in two levels of Latin sight translation. Awards are presented to first, second, third and fourth place winners at each level. This year, USU students dominated the awards. Representing USU, Eric Follett won first place, Marie C. Pack won second place and Genevieve Draper won fourth place awards competing in the first level. In the second level, Rebecca Richards placed first and Ian Graham took the third place award. For Level One competition, students who have completed one year of Latin study are challenged to translate a selection by a Latin prose artist such as Cicero or Caesar. Level Two competition includes undergraduates beyond the first year of Latin study. They are challenged to translate work by a poet such as Catullus or Martial. History Department Head Norm Jones congratulated USU’s outstanding students for their excellent Latin translation skills. “I am very pleased and proud of our students’ success in the Yengich competition,” Jones said. “Our Classics Program attracts some of the best students in the university, as these exam results demonstrate.” The USU students represent a variety of majors and most are seniors. One USU award-winner, Genevieve Draper, is a freshman history major. Eric Follett is a senior Spanish major with a minor in linguistics. Rebecca Richards is a senior majoring in English with minors in Latin and Greek. Ian Graham has a history major, Latin minor, and is a senior. Marie C. Pack is also a senior majoring in English with a minor in psychology. Susan O. Shapiro is an associate professor of history and classics at USU. She, along with colleage Frances Titchener, co-directs USU’s Classics Program. While a classics major is not offered at USU, students can earn minors in any of four areas — Latin, Greek, Classics and Latin teaching. Currently, approximately 45 USU students are enrolled in classes in Latin and Greek, most of them with minors in Latin, Greek or both, Shapiro said. “The USU students’ success this year is a testament to the high quality of our students and to the continued relevance of the study of Latin as the mark of what it means to be an educated person,” Shapiro said. USU’s students have participated in the competition for a number of years with success, but this year’s accomplishments mark a high point with first place awards in both levels. The Nick A. Yengich Latin Competition is a unique, statewide competition. Its cash prizes range from $200 to $25 at both levels. The project is supported by the Nick Yengich Foundation, which contributes the annual cash prizes, and by the classics faculties at the participating universities who create, administer and adjudicate the competition. “The Nick A. Yengich Latin Competition is meant to provide a modest prize to those Latin students who show a desire to succeed in this most beautiful of the Indo-European children of languages,” Ronald Yengich said on the competition’s Web site. “The contest encourages students who have spent a year’s effort in a difficult language and thus takes seriously the study of a ‘dead’ language.”

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