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Monday, Sep 22, 2014

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Ohio University Professor Tom Carpenter, the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Professor Award, delivers a lecture about classical vases during the Distinguished Professor Lecture and award reception, held in Alden Library on Feb. 24, 2014.

Photographer: Lauren Pond

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Ohio University's 2012 Distinguished Professor John Kopchick introduces Tom Carpenter, the 2013 recipient of the Distinguished Professor Award. Carpenter teaches in the Department of Classics and World Religions.

Photographer: Lauren Pond

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From left: Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis and John Kopchick present Tom Carpenter, of the Department of Classics and World Religions, with the Distinguished Professor Award during a reception in Alden Library on Feb. 24, 201

Photographer: Lauren Pond

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University community honors Carpenter as Distinguished Professor


A new portrait will now hang in Alden Library amongst the 52 others that honor the greats who have molded the minds of Ohio University students.

Tom Carpenter, professor of Classics and World Religions, was honored Feb.24 as the 2013 Distinguished Professor. Carpenter gave a lecture titled “Greek Tragedy Amongst the ‘Barbarians’ in 4th Century BC in Italy.” President Roderick J. McDavis presented Carpenter with a certificate and unveiled the portrait.

The 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Professor Award, John Kopchick, showed a video interview with Carpenter prior to the event and then welcomed Carpenter to the stage.

“To have been chosen is a humbling experience when such extraordinary people make decisions like this and to become part of this was important,” Carpenter said.

During his lecture, Carpenter presented the topic of vase paintings, providing images in a slideshow to further explain his point. He described the regions the vases came from, which included Italian and Greek culture.

Carpenter walked the audience through the paintings and interpreted the ties to Greek tragedies and mythology, going in-depth into the stories surrounding each vase.

“I love this stuff,” he said with a laugh. “I can talk about this stuff forever. I thought it was an interesting argument. It’s got interesting visuals and it’s what I do. It made sense—the distinguished professor lecture, to talk about what he does.”

Following the lecture, Carpenter welcomed questions, giving the audience the chance to dig further into the topic.

“Tom Carpenter is a great professor. He’s a great member of the Ohio University community and you can understand why by the scholarship he brings to this university,” Linguistics Professor David Bell said. “He makes it very accessible, which is the mark of a great teacher.”

Carpenter’s reputation of quality teachings and lectures brought a crowd of more than 100 to Alden Library’s Class of 1951 lounge. In the video shown before Carpenter’s lecture, he underscored the importance of being an educator as well as being a researcher.

“Don’t ignore the teaching. This is where the real benefits are going to come for your own sense of fulfillment,” Carpenter said in the video. Kopchick also mentioned in his introduction that he was impressed by Carpenter’s dedication to teaching, and members of the audience echoed his praise.

“Dr. Carpenter is largely responsible for how I came to my major, which is Classics, so I’m delighted to see him recognized with this honor,” Rachel Thomas, a senior Classics and World Religions major, said. Thomas attended the lecture with two friends, junior dance major Leah Crosby and sophomore Classics and World Religions major Matt McDonald, both of whom were drawn to the event by Carpenter’s reputation as a good professor.

The Distinguished Professor Award was established in 1959. The lifetime designation of Distinguished Professor recognizes the achievements and extraordinary contributions of the selected professor and only one award is made each year. As a recipient, Carpenter will receive one semester of academic leave and the privilege of selecting one undergraduate student annually to receive a distinguished professor scholarship.