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New archaeology and classics professorship created at Randolph-Macon College through support from Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)

Apr 18, 2023
The new professorship in archaeology and classics honors longtime Agora excavation director John Camp and RMC Classics Professor Elizabeth Fisher.

Thirty years before the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) was established, John Camp II was already digging at the ancient Agora in Athens. Last year—after 57 years of excavating and mentoring students at the site that made him a giant in the field—Camp retired as director of the excavation and taught his last class as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Classics at Randolph-Macon College.

In honor of the extraordinary careers of Dr. Camp and Dr. Fisher, SNF committed $1 million to establish the SNF Camp-Fisher Professorship for Archaeology and Classics at Randolph-Macon, which will be fully funded by 2027. The grant includes support for a small cohort of students from the Virginia liberal arts college to travel to Greece each summer and take part in ancient Greek archaeological research as SNF Summer Fellows.

“During John and Beth’s remarkable tenures at Randolph-Macon, SNF’s generous support allowed us to build one of the strongest programs for the study of archaeology and the classics at any college of our scale in America,” Randolph-Macon President Robert R. Lindgren said. “The Foundation’s continued support assures a strong new chapter for the program at RMC.”

“John Camp has been a phenomenal ambassador not only for the ancient Athenian Agora, but also for the value of exploring the past with an open, inquisitive mind and for the special connection shared between Greece and the United States,” said SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos. “He and Dr. Fisher have directly inspired generations of students in classics and archaeology and continue to inspire us with their dedication to taking the long view and serving the greater good. We are proud to support this professorship to help continue their legacies.”

Camp was named the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor at Randolph-Macon in 2009, the same year SNF began supporting RMC student participation in the Agora excavation. He has introduced new publics to what we’ve learned from the Agora excavations—and, crucially, how we’ve learned it—through means as disparate as a cooking show appearance, a virtual tour in a video-game world, and a famous in-person tour of the Agora, often accompanied by site dog Rex.

Fisher is retiring this year as Professor of Classics and Director of Archaeological Studies at Randolph-Macon. Her various courses and local excavations for the past decades provided training for archaeology students, many of whom also served as Stavros Niarchos Foundation Fellows at the Athenian Agora.

Camp and Fisher, a husband-and-wife team who have worked for decades to provide excavation, travel, and study opportunities for the next generation of Classicists and archaeologists in Greece, expressed their deepest appreciation to the SNF. “We are so grateful for all the support RMC students have received from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The remarkable impact of ancient Greek culture reaches far beyond the shores of the Mediterranean and far beyond ancient times into our modern world. The continuing SNF support will encourage future generations of students to embrace the history of ancient Greece, and to advocate for cultural heritage preservation throughout the world.”