History of the American School 1939-1980- Chapter VI

Chapter VI: The Summer Session

Chapter VI: The Summer Session

The use of the personnel and facilities of the School to offer summer instruction to students unable to attend the regular sessions was suggested to the Managing Committee by Harry H. Powers, Founder and President of the Bureau of University Travel, when that organization joined the Cooperating Institutions of the School and he became its representative on the Managing Committee in 1923. He proposed that the Bureau assume all financial responsibility of the session and its publicity, while the School would offer its facilities and appoint as Director one “whose scholastic standing would qualify him to be a member of the School’s staff.” This arrangement was approved by the Managing Committee in 1924, and the first two sessions, 1925 and 1926 with six and two students, respectively, were directed by Walter Miller, University of Missouri representative on the Managing Committee. The third session (1927), in which six students and five part-time members were enrolled, was directed by Benjamin D. Meritt. He conducted the two weeks in Athens in the July 20-August 26 section of the session which had begun in Italy (July 12-20); Oscar Broneer conducted the portions in Italy and shared the sites in Greece outside Athens with Meritt. After the 1928 session directed by Oscar Broneer, the Summer Session lapsed until 1931 when Chairman Capps asked Louis Eleazer Lord to resume the sessions, now managed by the School itself. Tuition and room rents in Loring Hall paid the Director’s salary and other expenses so that the operation paid for itself financially. Lord continued to conduct the sessions for from 12 to 20 students of graduate rank, many of them secondary-school teachers of classics, through the precarious summer of 1939 and revived it in 1948 with 10 students. Both the 1939 and 1948 sessions were feats of major accomplishment in the face of oncoming war and then post-war recovery difficulties of transportation both to and from and in Greece, but they emphasized the eagerness of students to take advantage of a summer of study in Greece when to spend more time is impossible.

The program of the Summer Session, like that of the winter, has varied in some details over the years, but the fundamental plan is essentially that of the regular session, in parvo, as to sites visited and with a less detailed archaeological emphasis. The approach is more generally literary and historical to suit the preparation and needs of a combination of advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, secondary-school teachers, with occasional university instructors also, along with some keenly interested and adequately prepared non-professional laymen. The six-week term includes two in Athens, the others devoted to trips to the major sites of Greece. Students prepare reports but in addition lectures are given by the Director of the Summer Session plus a considerable number of the other staff members of the School and Research Fellows who contribute their special knowledge of material and sites both in Athens and elsewhere.

The sessions of 1948 and 1949, directed by Louis Lord, were, like those he had conducted in 1931–1939, arranged and financed by the School. As Chairman of the Managing Committee at the time, however, Mr. Lord recognized that with the increasing financial uncertainty in the years of post-war inflation it might be advantageous to the School and insure the Summer Session so particularly dear to him if there were to be a renewal of the original arrangement with the Bureau of University Travel which had been entered into when the Summer Session began. Since he had himself just accepted the position of head of the B.U.T., he would be in a position to oversee arrangements and make certain the interests of the School were served. As noted above (p. 42) the Managing Committee voted in May 1949 that beginning with the 1950 session this arrangement should maintain. Mr. Lord would continue to conduct the 1950 session. It proved to be his last. In his final report on that 1950 session he expressed hope that the Summer Session had justified its existence and he felt “that whatever success it has had has been due in a very large measure to the cordial cooperation of others interested in the success of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.” In the long view it is apparent that the firm establishment of the Summer Session as an integral and significant department of the School’s business was by no means the least of Louis Lord’s contributions to the School.

George E. Mylonas of Washington University, St. Louis was chosen to be Director of the 1951 and 1952 sessions, Robert L. Scranton of Emory University in 1953, Saul S. Weinberg of the University of Missouri in 1954, William E. Gwatkin, Jr. of the University of Missouri in 1955, William B. Dinsmoor of Columbia University in 1956, C. W. J. Eliot, Secretary of the School, in 1957 under the arrangements with the Bureau of University Travel.

By May 1956 questions had arisen among the Managing Committee as to whether the time had not come “to unite the Summer Session more closely with the School’s major activities” and so to strengthen its scholarly aspect. A Committee composed of Richard H. Howland, Chairman, George E. Mylonas and Robert L. Scranton presented a report to the Managing Committee in December 1956, and after revision it was adopted by the Managing Committee in May 1957 to go into effect with the 1958 session. All arrangements were now to be under the supervision of the School, but the B.U.T. would handle announcements. The Director and Assistant Director of the Session were to be nominated by the Committee on Personnel to the Chairman of the Managing Committee who would make the appointments. They were to be paid a stipend plus travel expenses and were to plan the curriculum and trips; members of the School were to be invited to lecture at certain sites; the Secretary of the School was to plan the travel arrangements; admission was to be reviewed and approved by the Committee on Admissions and Fellowships, who would also award scholarships; students were to be charged a fixed sum to cover tuition, board, room and travel during the session, which would remunerate the School for those items plus the Director’s stipend and a portion of the overhead expenses; in short, the session was to be self-sufficient financially.

Since available rooms in Loring Hall would limit to 15 the number of students who could be accepted, there was a conviction that two groups should be tried so as to accommodate more of those eager to attend; this would require a Director and an Assistant Director. One group limited to 15 mature students interested in a graduate program would be conducted by the Director and live in Loring Hall; the other group of comparable size but also possibly larger would have a program of undergraduate level, the trips of which would be conducted by the Assistant Director, would live in appropriate buildings outside the School but have access to the Library and all privileges. It was discovered, however, when Chairman Morgan investigated the housing situation both in Athens and on the trips with Director Caskey that this would be impossible for 1958, so only one session was held, and it was not, in fact, until 1968 that two sessions could be held. By then they had been rethought and were both alike. Meanwhile it became feasible to increase the number in that one session from 17 in 1958 to 21 in 1959.

In the fall of 1959 the Bureau of University Travel notified the School that it could no longer attend to the advertising and various financial angles of the Summer Session. A committee composed of Gertrude Smith, Chairman, George E. Mylonas and C. A. Robinson, Jr. was appointed to recommend what action should now be taken. There was no slackening of applicants in 1960 in spite of the lack of advertising, but in the report of the Committee it was recommended that in future notices should be placed in certain classical journals as well as a brochure circulated. Further recommendations of the Committee were adopted and made the guiding principles of the Summer Session thereafter (see below, pp. 147-150 for later revisions):

1. Purpose. The Session is designed primarily for students and teachers who wish to familiarize themselves with Greece in a limited time, or those who, though conversant with its literature and art, have had no opportunity to see the country, its museums, and the actual sites of its famous cultural and religious centers. The program is designed to afford the members an opportunity to become familiar with the topography and antiquities of Greece and to observe both the manner in which the monuments contribute to the understanding of ancient literature and the method by which ancient sources are used to interpret archaeological discoveries.

2. Director. The Director of the Summer Session must be a member of the Managing Committee, or, if no suitable one is available, he must at least be a member of the staff of the School or of a supporting institution. The Director must have some distinction as a scholar and he must have a good knowledge of Greece. The appointment of the Director is to be made on the recommendation of the Committee on the Summer Session through the Committee on Personnel. Any member of the Managing Committee may make recommendations of candidates for the directorship to the Committee on the Summer Session.

3. Responsibility for Program. The planning of the program should be the responsibility of the Director of the Summer Session. But whether the Director be primarily an archaeologist or an historian or a specialist in literature and language he must plan an integrated program including all aspects of classical civilization—-literature, history, art, archaeology, Greek thought generally. Attention should also be given to the monuments of the Byzantine period. The Director should have the assistance of the Secretary of the School in securing transportation and reservations for the field trips.

4. Membership. Undergraduates, preferably in their last two years of college, graduate students, and teachers are considered eligible, and it is hoped that a healthy distribution may be maintained among these categories. For the most part the members must be primarily interested in classical civilization, but well qualified students of art and history may also be accepted. The selection of members shall be the responsibility of the Director and the Committee on Admissions and Fellowships working together. The Committee on Admissions and Fellowships should be authorized to set a deadline for their selection of applicants from the material in hand by that date. If vacant places remain they may be filled with later applicants. Early applications are urged.

5. Scholarships. The Committee on Admissions and Fellowships in consultation with the Committee on the Summer Session shall make the award of scholarships from the best of those who apply for scholarship aid before the deadline of January 15 in each year. The School has a commitment to contribute from its own funds one half the tuition fee of the recipient of regional scholarships. This year it has occurred that the winner of the School’s Lord Scholarship was also declared the winner of the Semple Scholarship of $250 given by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. There is at present no rule covering such a situation and the following recommendation is proposed for the future in case such a contingency again arises: If the winner of a School summer scholarship is awarded a regional scholarship to which the School contributes one half of the tuition fee, he must relinquish one scholarship or the other.

6. Business Details.
a) Advertising. Notices of the Summer Session should be carried in the regular autumn poster which contains also information about the academic year fellowships and in the Classical World, Archaeology, Classical Journal, and the brochure of the Institute of International Education. An attractive brochure on the Summer Session and a short form letter should be printed which can be sent out immediately by the Chairman of the Committee on Admissions and Fellowships in answer to inquiries, along with the appropriate application blanks.
b) Transportation and passport matters. These are to be arranged by the individual member, but some assistance in transportation might be worked out with the American Express Company or one of the Greek steamship lines.
c) Fee. The present fee of $500 should be maintained including tuition, board and room at Loring Hall, transportation, meals, and lodging on the field trips. The bill should be sent by the Chairman of the Committee on Admissions and Fellowships along with the notice of acceptance to membership and the request for passport pictures. A deadline of April 15 should be established for the payment of fees. The fees should be collected by the Chairman of the Committee on Admissions and Fellowships and forwarded to the Chairman of the Managing Committee for deposit with the treasurer.
d) Director’s stipend. The Director should receive $1000 for traveling expenses (if he is not already in Greece) and $600 honorarium. These amounts and his living and transportation during the session are to be paid from the student fees.
The continuance of the Committee on the Summer Session is recommended. This committee should follow the work of the Summer Session carefully, and should from time to time report to the Managing Committee on the progress of the work and suggest changes which will improve it. It will be expected to execute the duties mentioned above and should have charge of the preparation of the above mentioned brochure, the annual posters, and the advertising, and other business details which occur from time to time (Eightieth Annual Report, 1960–1961).

Already in 1953 the Managing Committee had recognized the need for scholarship help for students of the Summer Session if the best students were to be given the opportunity to participate. It voted on December 28, 1953 that the income from the John White Field fund, established by a legacy of $1,000 by Mrs. Field in 1897 and now amounting to $10,000, be used as a scholarship of $500 in the Summer Session; $500 was the total fee for the Summer Session at that time. It was awarded for the first time for the 1955 Session and at intervals thereafter. In 1956 when the John Williams White Fellowship in Archaeology was not awarded for the regular session, the Managing Committee empowered the Committee on Fellowships to award two scholarships of $500 for the Summer Session from the White Fund for that year only. The Managing Committee also provided that the School would meet the other half ($250 at that time) of the Summer fee for all those holders of $250 scholarships from the various Classical Associations in the United States. In 1955 contributions were begun toward a fund in honor of Louis Eleazer Lord for a Summer scholarship, and by the spring of 1956 it was possible to award a Louis Lord Scholarship for that summer; unfortunately for the School the recipient had to resign it because he had previously accepted a scholarship to the American Academy in Rome Summer School. In 1957 the Lord scholarship was $400. Also in 1955-56 through Mr. Lord’s efforts $5,000 was raised to match a similar amount from the Harry Huntington Powers Memorial Fund to establish a scholarship in Powers’ name. On December 28, 1960 the Managing Committee voted that unexpended income from Summer School scholarship funds should be funded till sufficient for the establishment of a regular Bert Hodge Hill Scholarship Fund of $10,000. A special gift was made for a Hill Scholarship in 1961; in 1962 a George H. Chase and in 1976 and 1977 Ellen N. Lawler Sscholarships were awarded. On May 14, 1966 the Managing Committee voted to raise the Summer Session fee to $600 and also to raise the scholarships for the Summer Session to $600. There was also a consensus that the School should continue to pay half the fee for those to whom half-fee awards have been made by reputable classical associations, and on December 28, 1966 the Managing Committee voted that matching funds for classical association scholarship recipients (whose number varies from two to five, year to year) be taken from the income for Summer Session scholarships. The holder of an association scholarship is not permitted to hold a School scholarship in addition. The classical associations which have awarded scholarships for the Summer Sessions are the Classical Association of New England, Classical Association of the Atlantic States, Classical Association of Midwest and South, New York Classical Association, Eta Sigma Phi, American Classical League, Ohio Classical Association.

One of the recommendations of the ad hoc Committee on the Summer Session appointed on December 28, 1959 in their report on May 14, 1960 was that the Committee on the Summer Session be continued, to follow closely the work of the session and report to the Managing Committee as well as to recommend Directors to the Committee on Personnel, to consult with the Committee on Admissions and Fellowships on the award of scholarships, and to have charge of advertising the session and other business details. That ad hoc committee became then the first Committee on the Summer Session as a Standing Committee of the School. Its relation with the Committee on Admissions and Fellowships which continued to select the membership of the session remained close, since Gertrude Smith continued as Chairman of both Committees through 1962-63 and as a member of both Committees through 1965-66; she remained a member of the Summer Session Committee through 1968-69. She was succeeded as Chairman of the Committee on the Summer Session by C. A. Robinson, Jr. for 1963-64, George E. Mylonas 1964-65 (both had been members of the original committee), then Anna S. Benjamin 1965–1970, William P. Donovan 1970–1975, after which Chairmen served only for two-year terms; Joseph Conant 1975–1977, Stephen V. Tracy 1977–1979, Robert L. Pounder 1979–1981.

In 1965 the Committee on the Summer Session took over the selection of students and the award of scholarships; in fact the complete administration of the session was now vested in that Committee. In response to numerous queries from the Managing Committee on various aspects of the session a report in December 1966 explained existing policies. It stressed that the Committee was anxious to keep a balance of undergraduates, graduate students, and teachers in high schools and colleges, but this could be done and still give a preference, if that was desired by the Managing Committee, to students who have had some connection with the Cooperating Institutions, since most of the students do in fact have a connection with those institutions.

Some members of the Managing Committee had queried what benefits accrue to those institutions from the Summer Session; could not some tuition remission be given as in the regular session or some preference be given to graduates of Cooperating Institutions, or both. In regard to remission of tuition, the Committee’s report emphasized that the Summer Session fee is entirely for expenses; there is no tuition per se that could be remitted. The report further recommended that in view of the many qualified applicants which cannot be accommodated each year, a second session with a second director, limited to 20 students, be established on a trial basis in 1968, and the Managing Committee voted to approve the trial.

Accordingly, beginning in 1968 two Summer Sessions have been held, conducted by two Directors, both housed in Loring Hall for the half of the session held in Athens, the beginning of one session following the beginning of the other by one week so that one is in Athens while the other is on trips throughout the six-week sessions. In both sessions each year the 20 students are a mixture of undergraduate and graduate students, secondary school and college teachers, men and women. Such balance among them is maintained as is possible with dropouts and last minute alternates filling the available places. The immediate success and popularity of the 1968 session assured the continuation of the two groups which still allow for a very careful selection of 40 members so many are the applications, which number about seventy to a hundred. In 1974 it was necessary, because of the inflation in Greece, to raise the fee to $750, and in December 1978 to $1050, beginning with the 1979 session.

By 1975 when the School began to advertise descriptions of the positions on its staff, the Director of the Summer Session was defined as “a member of the School who has held an academic appointment at a recognized post-secondary educational institution and has had at least two years teaching experience; a trained classicist with some graduate instruction in Classical Archaeology and some knowledge of Modern Greek, stamina, good health and a sense of humor.” These qualities do describe the considerable number of men and women who have led the sessions in the 30 years since the war, often serving more than one, even more than two years. Nearly all have been members of the Managing Committee at the time of their appointment; most who were not became so shortly thereafter. Their duties which had varied somewhat over the years, as the above account indicates, were in 1975 defined as “responsibility for planning (in consultation with the other Director, the Professor of Archaeology and the Secretary of the School) the itinerary for all trips at least six months prior to the session, for reading all applications for membership and advising the Committee on the Summer Session of his recommendations, for handling all correspondence with members admitted to his session, advising them of details of travel, equipment, academic requirements (reports), etc. The Director supervises all aspects of the program in Greece, is responsible for keeping a log of the trips, certifying students for academic credit, and submitting a report to the Director of the School for the Managing Committee.” For these two positions the Committee on the Summer Session sends a rank-ordered list to the Committee on Personnel who nominate to the Executive Committee and they to the Managing Committee for appointment. Beginning in 1979 a Summer School Secretary was appointed to assist the School Secretary in the many detailed arrangements necessary for the Summer Sessions.

These are the facts and figures of the Summer Session, but the life of this very significant department of the School’s affairs has been the 20, then 40, persons of widely varying ages, training and specific interests who have been drawn together by their common interest in Greek civilization and who have returned to their study or teaching with a fresh interest and deeper insight as well as a new devotion both to classical studies and to the School. Not a few have returned to the School for a full academic year as regular or associate members; many have inspired others to come as students; nearly all have become active and loyal Alumni of the School. It was indeed a wise decision to make the Summer Session an integral part of the School’s activities.