38 things we love about Illinois: No. 7

Professor Richard Scanlan (Photo by Bill Wiegand/Illinois Quarterly)
From venerable agriculture to the computer revolution, rare books to Round Barns, Homecoming parades to tunnel walks, these are a few of our favorite things about our favorite institution of higher education.

7. Classics Professor Richard Scanlan

The late Richard Scanlan made the classics come alive—literally. For more than three decades, he fleshed out the world of Roman and classic mythology at UI by blurring the lines between scholarship and entertainment. If the topic was Roman civilization, he would don a toga and laurel wreath. Sometimes, he arrived to class by horseback. So riveting were his sessions that students—even those not enrolled in his courses—turned out in droves, prompting UI to cap Scanlon’s class rosters at 1,200. “He was a legendary teacher,” said David Sansone, then-head of UI’s Classics Dept., upon Scanlon’s death in 2009. “The UI experience wasn’t complete without taking his course.” A UI teaching fellowship bears his name.

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