News Center

News from the Reed College public affairs office

Classics major wins Lankford Award

By Anna Mann on May 23, 2016 11:21 AM

CHILD'S PLAY. Haley Tilt ’16 won the Lankford Award for her thesis on how ancient Romans thought about childhood.

Classics major Haley Tilt ’16 has won the William T. Lankford III Humanities Award for her senior thesis on children in Roman North Africa between the first and sixth centuries CE.

The award recognizes accomplishment in both history and literature and is given to students with outstanding academic records and strong potential for further achievement.

Haley’s thesis focused on the Roman province of Africa Consularis, which included bits of modern-day Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, during a time when a new religion known as Christianity was exploding across the region. She examined archaeological evidence like gravesites and epitaphs as well as literary evidence like poetry and letters.

The award committee praised Haley for her “exceptional” thesis, citing it as “a superb example of independent, interdisciplinary research.”

"Haley wove together an analysis of literary, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence for understanding childhood in a specific province of the Roman Empire," said her adviser, Prof. Thomas Landvatter [classics 2015–]. “As I an archaeologist, I was particularly impressed by her command of the material evidence, which went far beyond what I would expect from someone who has had no formal class in archaeology. Her discussion of the burials of children was thorough and both methodologically and theoretically sophisticated.”

I was really surprised when I received the award since I a) didn't know that Reed gave out awards and b) didn't know that I was eligible for any such thing,” Haley told us. “But I have to say, after a lot of incredibly hard work on my thesis and at Reed more generally, receiving that award was a nice little kick, and said to me, ‘Hey, you know what, other people did notice you were working your ass off. Surprise!’”

During her time at Reed, Haley worked as a tutor in the Writing Center, and tutored students at Lane Middle School and Oregon Humanities, and won a President’s Summer Fellowship to visit ancient Roman ruins. After Reed, she is heading to Baltimore for Teach For America.

Her thesis is titled “Living and Dying Young: Conceptions of Child Development in Africa Proconsularis”

The Lankford Award honors the memory of Prof. Bill Lankford (1946–1983), a distinguished teacher of English and humanities who served Reed from 1977 until his untimely death in 1983. Prof. Lankford’s national reputation as a scholar of the works of Charles Dickens and his inspiring teaching imbued many of his students with the same passion for literature that possessed him. The award also specifies accomplishment in history and in the relations between history and literature to honor Prof. Lankford’s second great love—his avocation—history, and to recall his important role in bringing new life and energy to the history and literature program at Reed. Finally, the award recognizes potential, as well as past academic accomplishment, to underline his deepest conviction, that devoted teaching makes a difference in the lives of young people and that it helped them to fulfill their potentials as intellectuals, citizens, and as human beings.

Chinese major Ian Connelly ’16 also earned the award. Both winners received a cash prize and a copy of David Copperfield in honor of Prof. Lankford’s love of Dickens.