From the Director

This article first appeared in ISAW Newsletter 15, Spring 2016.

Roger Bagnall
Leon Levy Director

There is a certain appropriateness in announcing our next exhibition, “Time and Cosmos in Greco-Roman Antiquity” (p. 8), in an issue of the Newsletter otherwise entirely devoted to evidence of time’s dominion. It was enormously gratifying to be able to mark the end of my final semester as ISAW’s Leon Levy Founding Director with the graduation of our first three doctorates, all of whom obeyed the discipline of time to degree and finished within the canonical seven years. One of my first actions in the fall of 2007 was to sit down and write the guidelines for a new kind of doctoral program, and now we have the first fruits of the labors of our students and faculty. In my remarks below (p. 6) I have tried to express my admiration for and gratitude to these three pioneers in showing how a broader approach to the ancient world could produce new types of scholarship without sacrificing traditional rigor. I was a member of the dissertation committee for two of them and enjoyed very much being stretched into areas I didn’t know much about. That is what ISAW is like on a daily basis, and it’s a joy to be part of it.

Even though I step down as director this summer (p. 5), I do plan to continue as an active member of this community. I have
always found the administrative roles that I have played very satisfying and far from irrelevant to my scholarship, but there is
a point in the cyclical time of academe when change is good for all concerned. Both individual and institution can benefit from fresh energy and ideas. I am looking forward to having fewer meetings and more time to read and reflect, among other benefits of retirement—which include the opportunity to enjoy the company of our faculty, visiting scholars, staff , and students, a wonderful group.

At the end of August, Alexander Jones will take up the interim directorship for the coming year (p. 4). At press time, President
Hamilton was still at work on recruiting the next permanent director, who is likely to arrive next summer. Alex was our first faculty appointment and has been a superb colleague and contributor to ISAW’s development over the last eight years; and—an unexpected bonus—he has turned out to be a talented guest curator of exhibitions as well. He will make sure that we lose no momentum as we look ahead to a new director.

I want to conclude by thanking all those who have made this great adventure possible and who have taken part in building
this unique institution as a gift to generations to come. Our Founder, Shelby White, occupies a unique place, of course, with
her vision and generosity. But all of you have had a share in creating this precious community: faculty, staff , visiting scholars,
students, senior fellows, participants in lectures and conferences, contributors. You have made our common life a rewarding
one and the director’s role a happy and fulfilling one. Thank you.