Harvey Mansfield will deliver “An Address from the Humanities to Science.”

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Middlebury College will honor the memory of a beloved professor of classics on Monday, April 13, at 4:30 p.m. in Dana Auditorium with the inaugural Eve Adler Memorial Lecture. The occasion will mark the endowing and formal naming of the Eve Adler Department of Classics, at which a leading scholar of ancient, medieval, and modern political philosophy, Harvey Mansfield, Jr., will deliver the lecture titled “An Address from the Humanities to Science.” The event is free and open to the public.

“The endowing and naming of the department signal the centrality of the classics in Middlebury’s vision of a liberal arts education, and signify the high regard in which Professor Adler was held as both a teacher and a scholar at the College,” said President Ronald D. Liebowitz.

Adler died in 2004 at the age of 59 after a 25-year career teaching Latin, Greek, and Hebrew at the College, as well as courses in epic poetry, Greek and Roman tragedy, and the classical tradition of the liberal arts and sciences.

She reshaped the department in the 1980s along lines that ensured its success during the past two and half decades, said Marc Witkin, chair of the Department of Classics. “Eve developed and staffed new programs of instruction in Greek and Latin language at the basic, intermediate, and advanced levels, as well as a sequence of foundational courses designed to introduce Greek and Roman literature, philosophy, and history to all interested students at the College.”

Mansfield, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Government at Harvard University, has authored, co-authored, translated, or edited 14 books since joining the Harvard faculty in 1962.

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Eve Adler in 1979. Photo by Erik Borg, courtesy of Special Collections.

“We asked Harvey Mansfield to address the burning issue at the heart of Eve Adler’s teaching and her published work in the fields of classics and philosophy: the contemporary crisis of wisdom in the human sciences in their efforts to model themselves on modern natural science,” said Witkin. “Mansfield will discuss the current status of the modern Enlightenment project and the enduring relevance to it of ancient enlightenment, which is the business of a classics department today.

“In her masterwork, Vergil’s Empire, Eve shows that in first-century BC Rome, the poet Vergil was similarly concerned with the crisis of reason posed by Lucretius’ Epicurean-atomistic physics; Mansfield recognized the excellence of Eve’s book and was instrumental in getting it published. We are delighted on this occasion to be able to honor both Eve’s intellectual courage and her philosophic friendship with Mansfield.”

In addition to Vergil’s Empire: Political Thought in the Aeneid (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), Adler published Catullan Self-Revelation (Ayer Company Publishers, 1981); a translation from German to English of Leo Strauss’s Philosophy and Law (SUNY Press, 1995); a co-authored Dictionary of Russian Slang (Barron’s, 1995); a translation from Russian to English of Mikhail Epstein’s Cries in the New Wilderness (Paul Dry Books, 2002); and a translation into Russian of Strauss’s Natural Right and History.

The endowment, provided by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, will support academic-year program enrichment, including the Eve Adler lecture, as well as new scholarship opportunities for students wishing to pursue summer study in classical languages and civilizations, or to engage in archaeological fieldwork. The department also plans to use monies from the endowment to develop its own hybrid courses combining academic year study at Middlebury with faculty-led travel to Greek and Roman sites after classes end in May, in addition to a faculty-led summer term course involving archaeological field work.

The endowment will also allow for a second endowed professorship in classics to complement the existing James I. Armstrong Professorship in Classical Studies currently held by Professor Jane Chaplin, which will help ensure the department’s long-term future at Middlebury.