Susan Rotroff Honored at ASCSA Archaeological Conference
Susan Rotroff (at right) with conference organizers Kathleen Lynch and Mark Lawall. Susan’s t-shirt, sporting the banner “I’m kind of a big deal,” was a gift to her from presenter Kevin Daly.
On June 17 and 18 the Agora Excavations hosted a conference in Cotsen Hall in honor of long-time Agora researcher Susan Rotroff, who won the prestigious 2011 AIA Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement. A panel in Susan’s honor occurred at the January 2011 meetings of the AIA in San Antonio, but conference co-organizers Mark Lawall and Kathleen Lynch felt Susan should also be honored in Athens, the site of so much of the research that earned her the AIA Gold Medal. School Director Jack Davis welcomed everyone and provided the amazing statistics that of the 47 AIA Gold Medals ever awarded, 29 — a full 65% — have gone to scholars in the ASCSA community, and 12 to Agora scholars. John Camp, Director of the Agora Excavations, added that of the Agora scholars, women recipients outnumber men 2 to 1. The conference kicked off with a panel of speakers drawn from Susan’s outstanding Regular Member year. The 1968–1969 Regular Member group has made an immense impact on the field of Classics with 42 books (and counting), a MacArthur Fellow, two directors of foreign schools, two Mellon Professors, a chair of the Managing Committee, and directors of excavations too numerous to mention. The “Alumni” panel was a great success, and Jon Mikalson offered a special treat. His wife Mary had filmed the year’s adventures with a Super 8 camera. Now digitized and set to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Old Friends,” the film and Jon’s witty commentary on it provided a highlight of the conference. Especially notable were the mini skirts. In the late 1960s female members were required to wear skirts on trips, even in the deep cold of winter. Naturally, they wore the fashions of the day. Speakers offered excellent papers on topics that reflected Susan’s broad interests in the Classical world: pottery, topography, sculpture, history, the Greek east, and even epigraphy (see S. Rotroff 1978, “An Anonymous Hero in the Athenian Agora,” Hesperia 47, pp. 196-209). Susan closed the conference by reminiscing about the 1968–1969 year, offering comments on the papers, and thanking everyone for participating. Conference activities wound up with a reception at the Canadian Institute bursting at the seams with people wishing to congratulate Susan. In the photo at upper right, Susan is wearing a t-shirt that says, “I’m kind of a big deal,” presented to her by Kevin Daly, whose paper, “Susan Rotroff, Super Model,” characterized Susan’s contributions to the Agora volunteer excavator program. One summer, after Susan gave a presentation to the volunteers, Kevin claims he heard a student volunteer proclaim, “You know, she’s kind of a big deal.” Susan gamely wore the t-shirt to give her closing remarks.  At the conference in honor of Susan Rotroff. Front row, l-r: Brian Rose, Mary Sturgeon, Olga Palagia, Kathleen Lynch, Susan Rotroff, Andrea Berlin, Lynn Grant, Barbara Tsakirgis. Middle row: Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan, John Camp, Andy Stewart, Samantha Martin-McAuliffe. Back row: Gerald Finkielsztejn, Alan Shapiro, Jon Mikalson, John Papadopoulos, Carol Lawton, Crawford Greenewalt, Mark Lawall. View the conference program.