Pro­fessor of classics Grace West died on May 19 in her home. External Affairs

The Hillsdale Classics Department recently held a lecture, titled “Love in the Aeneid,” to com­mem­orate Grace West, a Hillsdale classics pro­fessor who died in May. The lecture was held as a kind of memorial, and Vis­iting Assistant Pro­fessor of Classics Carl Young, who orga­nized the event, explained how the idea came to be.

“It was inspired by a con­ver­sation I had with David West, Grace West’s son, at Grace’s funeral. We, as her col­leagues, had a chance to mourn her loss but some of her stu­dents didn’t get that because they were gone for the summer,” Young said. 

West’s son had been working on an article about the Aeneid and men­tioned it to Young. That’s when Young thought of a pos­sible lecture series. 

“I said, ‘Why don’t you come talk about it at Hillsdale? It seems like a fitting memorial to your mother,’” Young said.

Many classics pro­fessors were in favor of the idea. 

Vis­iting Assistant Pro­fessor of Classics Patrick Owens, who now works from Grace West’s office and teaches her courses, talked more about the lecture held in her honor. 

“Our department wanted to pay homage to Dr. West on her passing and cel­e­brate her schol­arship and work at the college,” Owens said.

Owens described the event and its success. 

“It was a very approachable lecture. It was some­thing that stu­dents who had never taken a Latin course could come to and really benefit from,” Owens said. “I invited my entire Aeneid class because I am teaching the very course Gracie West would have been teaching.”

Stu­dents and faculty were very receptive, according to Owens.

“The lecture hall was nearly packed with col­leagues from all depart­ments, graduate stu­dents, and stu­dents from English and Classics. Moving forward, there is a hope that this will become a series, but I think that depends on funding,” Owens said. 

Grace West’s husband, Pro­fessor of Pol­itics Tom West, Young, and the rest of the classics faculty want to make the lecture an annual series. First, they must determine how to solve the problem of financial aid.

“I’m trying to find a donor who is willing to fund this because the classics department has a limited budget,” Young said.

There is hope that the tra­dition will start with the help of sup­porters. Young expressed his plans for future lectures.

“We’d like to high­light female classics pro­fessors,” Young said. “Grace took that role seriously.”