Latin Day

Greece. Cape Sounion - Ruins of an ancient Greek temple of Poseidon after sunset
Greece. Cape Sounion – Ruins of an ancient Greek temple of Poseidon after sunset

Department of Classics

It started by listening. In 1980, Knoxville hosted the National Junior Classical League Convention. Afterwards, local Latin teachers and their students were energized. They wanted to keep that fire alive and reached out to faculty in the UT Department of Classics to help. Latin Day began in 1981 and 37 years later, the annual event is one of the most important one-day outreach events of the department.

“Latin Day draws more than 400 students each year from as far away as Nashville, the Tri-Cities, and Chattanooga to learn, enjoy a ‘Roman Lunch’ of pizza and cokes – as only teenagers can – and have fun together,” said Christopher Craig, classics professor and coordinator of UT Latin Day. “These high school students are regularly the sort of high-energy, high-achieving students whom we hope to see at UT.”

Latin Day is a day of fellowship and fun for high school Latin students. Young scholars attend seminars, presented by faculty from the Department of Classics, with titles such as “Not Cool Man: Why the Romans really didn’t like Odysseus,” and “Pop Music & Latin Poetry: Re-imagining ancient verse.” Students engage in conversations with other enthusiastic and hard-working Latin students, tour campus, and find out about the opportunities that await them at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

It is also the department’s most important recruiting event. Alumni who had their first taste of UT by attending Latin Day want to send their children to the event.

“This is a great practical benefit as a recruiting pipeline to bring high-achieving students to our department,” Craig said. “But we really do it now for the same reason we did in 1981 – to keep strong ties with our fellow Latin teachers at the high school level and to serve as we can the young people of Tennessee.”