From the Director

This article first appeared in ISAW Newsletter 19, Fall 2017.

This September, right after the new academic year got underway, we held an anniversary celebration recognizing the ten years since ISAW opened in 2007 (see page 5). The previous time that we hosted such an event, in May 2012, our guests were presented with a booklet, “ISAW at Five,” featuring our people, programs, and ambitions. Rereading “ISAW at Five,” it strikes me how far we have come, not just since our founding, but even since that halfway point.

The first five years were our period of rapidest growth, and by 2012 all the key elements that make ISAW what it is were in place: the Visiting Research Scholars and doctoral programs, the library, the digital projects, and the exhibitions. Our numbers were still on the rise, however: two faculty positions remained to fill, and we had just nine students, none yet at the dissertation stage, in comparison to our present twenty-five. More to the point, we were strongly conscious of the experimental nature of our enterprise, and that we were just beginning to try out various ways of realizing our mission. This sense of adventure should always stay with us, but now it can be counterbalanced by the reassurance that derives from a substantial track record of courses taught, examinations passed, exhibitions mounted, projects initiated and completed.

Over our first decade we have marked a long succession of “firsts.” Now we can boast our first Professor Emeritus: our founding director, Roger Bagnall, retired from the faculty on September 1 (page 5). As I take on the directorship with pride and excitement, I would like to express the immense gratitude felt by the entire ISAW community for his wise and imaginative leadership, through which our institute has accomplished so much so fast.

Alexander Jones
Leon Levy Director and Professor of the History of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity