Glenn Lacki, who graduated from Oberlin this May, has received
one of the largest American awards for graduate study—the
Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. The award, which can total up to $50,000
per year for up to six years, will allow him to pursue graduate
work in classics and archaeology at the University of Oxford, a
dream he says he has held since he first came to Oberlin.
Lacki is among the 76 graduate and professional students chosen
for the scholarship in a nationwide selection process that drew
nominees from more than 600 colleges and universities across the
"The recipients of scholarships from the Jack Kent Cooke
Foundation, whose standards are exceptionally high, exemplify qualities
we all admire, particularly that unique combination of ability
and drive that sets some people apart," said Professor Laurie
Kohn of the Georgetown University Law Center, who was a panelist.
The mission of the foundation is to help young people of exceptional
promise who demonstrate financial need to reach their full potential
through education. The foundation, a private, independent organization,
was established in 2000 through the will of Jack Kent Cooke, former
owner of NFL Washington Redskins and Los Angeles NBA Lakers and
"Since I began studying classics at Oberlin, pursuing graduate
work at Oxford has been a driving ambition," Lacki says. "Not
knowing how I could pay for it, I still applied and was accepted,
so when I received the call from the foundation, I was floored."
"I have taught many superb students in my 30 years at Oberlin,
but none more brilliant than Glenn Lacki," says Thomas Van
Nortwick, chair and professor of classics. "Along with his
extraordinary intellectual accomplishments, his fierce devotion
to learning, and his endless capacity for plain old hard work,
I prize Glenn's determination to make what he learns an integral
part of his search for self-knowledge. He is a wonderful example
of Socrates' primary imperative: Know thyself."
Lacki undertook three Oberlin majors: Greek language and literature,
Latin language and literature, and English with a concentration
in medieval languages and literature. He was an English department
student-faculty liaison and a research assistant in archaeology
and geology, and he tutored students in beginning and intermediate
Latin and Greek.
He spent the fall 2004 semester at the Intercollegiate Center
for Classical Studies in Rome and saw his translation of "Iliad
Book One 33-52: An Anglo-Saxon Heroic Epic Verse" appear in
the spring 2004 issue of Ephemeris.
An integral part of his life at Oberlin, says Lacki, was the work
he did as men's health coordinator at the Student Health Center.
He also starred or held leading roles in several student productions
and was a member of the Oberlin College Fencing Club, the Oberlin
College Choir, the Oberlin College Men's Group, and the Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender
A pivotal experience took place just before his junior year, when
he participated in the Sangro Valley Project, a summer archaeological
field school in Tornareccio, Italy. The project is conducted by
Oberlin and the University of Oxford. Witnessing how the Oxford
faculty taught and how their students responded, says Lacki, is
what led him to apply to the university.
Teaching classics and archaeology at the college or university
level while continuing field research in classical archaeology
is Lacki's career goal. To accomplish it, he plans to pursue two
degrees at Oxford: a one-year master of studies in Greek and Latin
languages and literature and a two-year master of philosophy in
classical archaeology. He also intends to earn a doctorate
in classics at Oxford or at a university in the United States.
Lacki credits his experience at Oberlin as an intrinsic factor
in his receiving the award.
"I am who I am because of Oberlin and the people there who
have transformed and become a part of my life, especially classics
faculty members Kirk Ormand and Thomas Van Nortwick, and Jennifer
Bryan in English," he says. "Without their guidance,
I might have never found my calling or the courage to pursue it.
This scholarship is as much a success for Oberlin as it is for
Lacki's reception of the Jack Kent Cooke scholarship is the latest
in a succession of impressive awards and honors garnered by Oberlin
students this year, among them seven Fulbrights, four Goldwaters,
two Watsons, two Javits, and a Marshall.
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