|Stroud in his academic regalia, 2006 (photo by Genevieve Shiffrar)|
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) is pleased to announce a gift from Charles K. Williams II in support of the renovated Student Center. Williams named the Ronald S. Stroud Room, located on the new third floor of the Annex, in honor of the distinguished scholar whose long association with the School spanned more than six decades.
|Stroud in Thessaly, 1960 (photo by Patricia Lawrence, American School class of 1959–1960)|
The late Ronald S. Stroud (1933–2021) was Klio Distinguished Professor of Classical Languages and Literature Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his B.A. in Classics from the University of Toronto in 1957 and his Ph.D. in Classics from Berkeley in 1965. Stroud was one of the world's leading Greek epigraphists. He was awarded a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1977 and the Berkeley Citation in 2006. The Berkeley Citation is the highest award the Berkeley Campus can confer, and it was presented to Stroud for his lifetime of distinguished contributions as a scholar, teacher, and member of the Campus community. He was also the Archaeological Institute of America's Norton Lecturer in 2010–2011.
|Professor Erich Gruen presents Stroud with a Berkeley Citation, 2006 (photo by Genevieve Shiffrar)|
At the American School, Stroud was a Thomas Day Seymour Fellow (1959–1960), Secretary of the School (now called "Assistant Director of the School"; 1960–1963), Whitehead Professor (1993–1994), and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Classical Studies (1996–1999). During his tenure as Secretary, Stroud excavated a small stele shrine at Corinth and began his excavations of the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, which he actively directed until the fall of 1965. Incidentally, Stroud met his future wife, Helen Conrad (Connie) Mitchell, a Regular Member of the School in 1962–1963, while excavating in Corinth.
|American School legend Oscar Broneer with Connie and Ron Stroud at their wedding in Athens, 1963 (photo courtesy of ASCSA Archives)|
In 2013, Stroud received the Alumni/ae Association's Aristeia Award, honoring those who have provided exceptional service to the School and who have done the most over the years to support its mission in teaching, research, archaeological exploration, and/or publication. At the School's annual Gala in 2018, Stroud was awarded the Athens Prize for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge of ancient Greece. The School's short film Inspiring Generations: Ronald Stroud and the American School's Academic Program honored his immeasurable contributions to the field of classics. Stroud is one of the very few scholars with major publications of material from both of the School's main excavations at Ancient Corinth and the Athenian Agora.
|Stroud accepts the Aristeia Award from ASCSA Alumni/ae Association President Bill Hutton, 2013|
Charles Williams, Director Emeritus of the Corinth Excavations at the American School, says of his good friend and colleague: "The naming of a bedroom for Ronald Stroud may not seem quite adequate to honor a scholar of his energy and magnitude, who so deftly handled the position of Secretary of the School, initiated the excavation of the Demeter Sanctuary at Corinth, and held the position of Mellon Professor, literally breaking his neck while doing so! For his careful, watchful eye, trained to read and interpret Greek inscriptions, he earned the respect of colleagues and students alike."
|Charles Williams (then ASCSA Associate Member and Ron Stroud's best man) and Beatrix Preyer (ASCSA Member 1962–1963 and Connie Stroud's maid of honor) with Ron (then Secretary of the School) and Connie Stroud (ASCSA Member 1962–1963) at their wedding in Athens, 1963 (photo courtesy of ASCSA Archives)|
Prior to his passing, Ron Stroud gratefully acknowledged, "I am honored that the Stroud Room is a gift from my best man, Charles Williams, and that my favorite Chairman of the Managing Committee, Alan Boegehold, is next door." [Several generous donors had recently named the Alan L. Boegehold Room and thoughtfully placed it next to Stroud's to commemorate the personal and professional connections between the two honorees.]
|Chris Pfaff (now ASCSA Director of the Corinth Excavations), John Camp (now ASCSA Director of the Athenian Agora Excavations), and Stroud during Thanksgiving in Loring Hall, 1987 (photo courtesy of ASCSA Archives)|
About Stroud's work, John Camp, Director of the Athenian Agora Excavations at the American School, remarks: "Ron's major epigraphical studies include Drakon's Law on Homicide (University of California Press, 1968), The Axones and Kyrbeis of Drakon and Solon (University of California Press, 1979), The Athenian Grain-Tax Law of 374/3 B.C. (Hesperia Supplement 29, ASCSA, 1998), "Greek Inscriptions: Theozotides and the Athenian Orphans" (Hesperia 40.3, 1971), and "An Athenian Law on Silver Coinage" (Hesperia 43.2, 1974). One of his greatest gifts to the field was his maintenance and enlargement of the Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum (SEG), an annual review of newly published inscriptions and a bibliographical update on ones already known, carried out with Harry Pleket, Angelos Chaniotis, Nikos Papazarkadas, and other collaborators." Stroud co-edited 33 volumes of SEG (XXVI –LVIII ).
In addition to his many publications on Attic inscriptions, Stroud published two major works on the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore in the Corinth series: XVIII.3: Topography and Architecture (ASCSA, 1997), co-authored with Nancy Bookidis, and XVIII.6: The Inscriptions (ASCSA, 2013). He dedicated both volumes to his wife, Connie, who excavated many of the objects published in those books and spent countless hours on the site and in the Corinth Museum to prepare them for final publication. Stroud produced over 70 scholarly publications. A Festschrift in his honor, ΑΞΩΝ: Studies in Honor of Ronald S. Stroud (co-edited by Angelos P. Matthaiou and Nikos Papazarkadas, Greek Epigraphic Society, 2015), contained articles written by friends, colleagues, and students on the epigraphy and historical topography of Athens and Attica, the Peloponnese, and the wider Greek world.
William T. "Rob" Loomis, President of the American School's Trustees, states, "On behalf of the Trustees, I want to thank Charles Williams for his generous contribution to the Student Center Campaign. Ron Stroud was one of the most productive and influential classical scholars of the past half-century. In addition, he was a mentor, supporter, and inspiration—but also an unsparing critic!—for dozens of students and younger scholars from all over the world. His impact on the field was immense."
|School scholars (from left) Nancy Bookidis, Elizabeth Pemberton, Ian McPhee, and Stroud study ancient pottery in the Corinth Museum, 2008 (photo courtesy ASCSA Archives)|
Kevin Daly, former Mellon Professor at the American School and current Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Bucknell University, shares, "For me, Ron Stroud and the American School are something close to synonymous. The School's presence in Ron's life was transformative, and he wanted all students to embrace that same opportunity. He wanted folks to appreciate the School as much as he did, and he wanted all to feel welcome. When Ron was at the School, he was a fixture in the library. I know few people who loved Greece the way Ron did, so you always found him eager to visit new places—villages, museums, restaurants, etc.—when he had a free moment. At the same time, his top priority had always been to be in the Blegen Library. This room honors Ron well because it serves as a gateway to research as well as a welcoming, comfortable place from which to explore Athens and Greece."
|Stroud at the Wall of Fame in the Hill House library in Corinth, 2010 (photo by Katie Rask)|
Indeed, Stroud's exuberant passion for Greece is palpable in a 2010 interview with Katie Rask, Assistant Professor of Classics at Ohio State University and ASCSA Regular Member in 2008–2009 (see the link in the "More About Ronald Stroud" section below). In these delightful vignettes, we read about Stroud traveling by ship to Greece for the first time and winning two prestigious fellowships from the School and Canada Council. He recounts the formerly neoclassical charm of Kolonaki, whose denizens included gentlemen smoking hookah, dancing bears, and mendicant monkeys. During his time in Greece, Stroud enjoyed hospitality of Homeric caliber. Sharing just a few of his many entertaining experiences in Greece, he describes, for example, a fancy cocktail party in the French School's garden and a sumptuous lunch of fresh-caught fish on a visit to Marathon—such nostalgic memories as to make anyone pine for Greece!
While excavating at the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Acrocorinth, Stroud unearthed and studied lead curse tablets and, of course, ubiquitous potsherds. It was there that Nancy Bookidis, Assistant Director Emerita of the Corinth Excavations at the American School, first met Stroud: "When I was a Regular Member at the School in 1963–1964, I had the good luck to be assigned to assist Ron in his excavation of the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore on Acrocorinth along with Connie. I was a novice. My first exposure to them was over the pottery tables. I despaired of my ability to be of any use as I watched them pick up crumbs the size of coffee grounds and say, authoritatively, red-and-black conventionalizing kalathiskos. As they helped me through my initial worries, I soon learned to love the red-and-black kalathiskos as did they. Ron was an excellent teacher, generous in inviting me to write up my part of the excavation for his next Hesperia excavation report. I still remember the frequent talks we had on-site about the lack of inscriptions, as I sat on a dirty stone that proved, after rains, to be an inscribed boundary stone. He inspired students to take walks, observe, take notes. He also set an example by his interest in modern Greece, an interest that expanded throughout his term as Mellon professor as well, one that has earned him great respect from our Greek colleagues." Bookidis would eventually become an important excavation partner of Stroud's and collaborate with him on two books and an article sharing the results of the excavations they conducted together. In the books, Stroud expressed his deep gratitude to Bookidis, humbly crediting her for "invaluable counsel" and saving him from "many blunders and inconsistencies."
|Stroud next to one of his most prized honors, a stele presented to him in 2003 at his 70th birthday party, organized by Lisa Kallet and Paula Pearlman, who arranged to have the stele inscribed by master craftsmen from the Epigraphical Museum in Athens and personally brought back from Greece.|
Ioulia Tzonou, Associate Director of the Corinth Excavations at the American School, met Stroud in 1997 during his so-called Χρυσά Χρόνια when he was the School's Mellon Professor. She recalls how all of his students called him by his first name, asserting: "Ron loved his students. There was no 'Professor Stroud' with Ron: he was our mentor but also our friend. He developed individual relationships with us and was caring. On one freezing, snowy morning, I fondly remember Ron promising us warm lunch at Platanos if we stuck it out." Stroud was a superb professor who was not afraid to get his hands dirty, as is clear from Tzonou's recollection of the time "he helped the driver put chains on our bus tires when we found snow in Metsovo." Interested in all aspects of Greece, she concludes: "For me, Ron is the definition of a philhellene."
Edward Cohen, Trustee Emeritus of the American School, shares: "For me, Ron Stroud was the personification of the American School of Classical Studies. Sixty years ago, when I first met him, he had already been involved with the School as student and teacher, as archaeologist and epigraphist, as administrator, and as mentor to neophytes—and our first conversation centered on the School. Throughout all the intervening years, he had in his singular persona embodied the School's unique mission as a cultural center devoted to the totality of Hellenic civilization (rather than as a mere foreign archaeological institution in Athens). No one could be more justly honored by the School, whose reputation and functioning he so mightily enhanced for so long."
MORE ABOUT RONALD STROUD
- An Interview with Classical Archaeologist Ronald S. Stroud (by Andrew Reinhard, former Director of Publications at the American School)
- Q&A with Ron Stroud (by Katie Rask, ASCSA Regular Member 2008–2009)
- Inspiring Generations: Ronald Stroud and the American School's Academic Program (short film produced by the American School)
- Ron Stroud Accepts Aristeia Award at 2013 AIA Annual Meeting
- Ron Stroud's Athens Prize Acceptance Speech at Gala 2018
- Ron Stroud Tribute Page
- Ronald S. Stroud Fellowship Fund
- Ron Stroud Memorial Service (April 15, 2022, UC Berkeley)
ABOUT THE STUDENT CENTER CAMPAIGN
The Student Center Campaign was launched in October 2018 to raise funds for renovating and expanding the three aging buildings that serve as the intellectual and residential heart of the American School: Loring Hall, the Annex, and West House. This transformative project has increased housing capacity, reduce energy consumption, add state-of-the-art features and technology, and brought the buildings up to the latest technical standards—all while preserving the complex's historical appearance. The Student Center will remain the place where members of the community gather for meals, tea, ouzo hour, holiday celebrations, and lectures—a source of lifelong professional and personal relationships that characterize the collegial and intellectually vibrant atmosphere of the School. This modernized setting will enhance that experience and meet the needs of the School community well into the future.
SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN
The goal of the Student Center Campaign is $10.1 million, inclusive of a maintenance endowment. Thanks to our trustees and other generous supporters, $8.15 million has been raised to date. The new Student Center will be formally dedicated on Saturday, June 4, 2022.
To learn more about how you can support this historic initiative, please contact Nancy Savaides, Director of Stewardship and Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-454-6810. Naming opportunities for a variety of spaces in the Student Center are still available. Donors can choose from a wide range of gift levels to name a room or area in honor of themselves, an American School scholar, or a family member, friend, or group. Please click the links below to view the nameable spaces and options that remain: