June 2, 2010
Dear Mr. Chatelain,
As a former graduate of the LSU Foreign Languages and Literatures Department (Latin major) and someone who currently works as a Latin teacher, I’m writing to ask that you reconsider the proposal to eliminate the Latin major at LSU.
1. As you may know, LSU’s first president, William Tecumseh Sherman fought to keep the curriculum at LSU classics-based. He hired Professor David French Boyd (whom the building on campus is named after) to teach Latin and Greek to the very first students of LSU. Sherman wanted to develop a strong classical foundation for his students, one he had as a young school boy in Ohio, but not, to his regret, as a college student at West Point which staunchly refused to offer a classics-based curriculum. This information is well documented in Germaine Reed’s David French Boyd, Founder of Louisiana State University (LSU Press, 1977). I hope that LSU will continue the tradition that its founders intended.
2. There is a great need for Latin teachers in Baton Rouge, as well as across the country. Currently, Parkview Baptist High School and the Dunham School, both local Baton Rouge schools, are actively searching for Latin teachers to help with their growing Latin programs. A quick look at the American Classical League’s job placement service Web page proves that there are currently hundreds of schools in the US searching for Latin teachers: http://www.aclclassics.org/tr_jobs.html . I hope that LSU will encourage its large contingent of underclassmen Latin students to seek a major in a field which needs people and can offer them jobs.
As a LSU Latin major, I was well prepared for the work I’ve done for the past 16 years. The fact that I was able to attain my degree here in Baton Rouge made it easier for me to decide to stay and live locally when I was offered a job right here in Baton Rouge.
I strongly urge you to reconsider the proposal and keep the Latin major at LSU.
Nathalie R. Roy
LSU Alum, ’92 and ’94