A former soldier, a polyglot with command of 10 lan­guages, and a podcast creator are three of Hillsdale College’s new hires in the Classics department this semester.

After serving in the U.S. Army from 1998 to 2004, Carl Young received his bachelor’s in classics at the Uni­versity of New Mexico and his doc­torate in clas­sical studies at Duke Uni­versity, where he taught for a year before coming to Hillsdale.

Young, a vis­iting assistant pro­fessor of classics, spe­cializes in phi­losophy, espe­cially the works of Plato and Niet­zsche, and cur­rently teaches intro­ductory Latin, 300-level Greek, and Greco-Roman lit­er­ature and culture.

Young became familiar with Hillsdale through his father’s “Imprimis” sub­scription. The first in his family to leave Richmond County, South Car­olina, he came from a long line of law enforcement officers and was expected to follow suit. Instead, he pursued a career in academia.

Young met Pro­fessor of Classics Laury Ward while pur­suing his doc­torate at Duke Uni­versity. When Ward accepted a position in the Classics department, Young began to research Hillsdale and found himself drawn in by the mission statement.

“I told Pro­fessor Ward that she got my dream job,” said Young. “I am so gra­cious to her, as she kept me in the loop about Hillsdale, espe­cially job oppor­tu­nities.”

Young enjoys the com­munal spirit of the campus, espe­cially the vet­erans’ com­munity. Addi­tionally, he appre­ciates stu­dents’ will­ingness to dive into tough topics.

“I love the random con­ver­sa­tions that you can fall into,” said Young. “I’ve been very delighted and sur­prised by the stu­dents here as well. If a con­tro­versial subject comes up in class, Hillsdale stu­dents really get in there and have it out. I love that.”

Young is not the only new pro­fessor who appre­ciates the stu­dents’ will­ingness to dive deep into dif­ficult sub­jects.

Joshua Fincher grew up in Wash­ington state and attended the Uni­versity of Wash­ington, where he got his bachelor’s degree in Classics. He then got a Master of Arts, Master of Phi­losophy, and doc­torate in Classics at Yale, where he also served as the student-faculty liaison. He taught a seminar on clas­sical heros for a year at Princeton.

Fincher, a vis­iting assistant pro­fessor of classics, has studied a total of ten lan­guages: English, French, German, Chinese, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, San­skrit, an ancient Eastern-Iranian lan­guage called Avestan, and Ugaritic, used to study the Hebrew Bible.   He uses these to engage in com­par­ative study of ancient texts, looking for cul­tural con­nec­tions and com­mon­al­ities between civ­i­liza­tions.

According to Fincher, college edu­cation should expose stu­dents to the material and teach them how to learn. He said he hopes college edu­cation pro­vides stu­dents with the tools to create their own worldview.

“One thing that I like about Hillsdale is that there is a much more pos­itive attitude about the process of worldview cre­ation,” Fincher said.

Fincher found his passion for teaching as a freshman in high school, where he helped his fellow class­mates with studying advanced history. As a junior, he interned as a teaching assistant for a high school U.S. history course. Since that time, Fincher knew he wanted to work with stu­dents.

“I picked this job because the sort of intense intention that I pay to stu­dents in helping them through these edu­ca­tional journeys, which, at larger schools, is valued in what people say but not in practice,” Fincher said. “It is good to know that Hillsdale wants the same things that I do for edu­cation and for stu­dents.”

Scott Lepisto hails from Michigan. He received his bachelor’s in Clas­sical Lan­guages and Lit­er­ature from the Uni­versity of Michigan, and then his Masters and doc­torate from the Uni­versity of Southern Cal­i­fornia. Lepisto is inter­ested in the concept and use of logos in prophetic speeches, specif­i­cally when char­acters give voice to the divine.

Lepisto, a lec­turer in classics, cur­rently teaches beginning and inter­me­diate Latin, as well as an advanced seminar on  the letters of Seneca, a Roman stoic and philosopher. One of his strengths includes ana­lyzing lit­er­ature. He empha­sizes this in his classes through demon­stration and question-and-answer-style teaching, which he talks about on his podcast, Itinera.

“I think about this Itinera podcast as an approach to the field. It makes it seem more acces­sible,” Lepisto said. “Give me a text and I will show you what is so cool about it.”

He teaches the skills of analysis, which he hopes stu­dents can then apply to art and texts across time.

When asked about his favorite part of Hillsdale so far, Lepisto said that it’s the stu­dents.

“I love the students…they are very vir­tuous and working hard is a norm,” said Lepisto. “This is a bright group in general.”

Editor’s note: Itinera can be found on iTunes and Twitter @scottlepisto.