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STANFORD -- Stanford's Overseas Studies Program has announced that it will relinquish management of an important training ground for American classical scholars - the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome - over the next two years.
Founded in 1965 by Stanford classicist Brooks Otis, the center makes it possible for about 72 undergraduates annually from throughout the United States to spend a semester in Rome studying Roman history, art and archaeology, language and literature, as well as Renaissance and Baroque art history. It is supported by a consortium of almost 75 colleges and universities.
"It was difficult to reach the decision that we should not continue to operate the center," said Russell A. Berman, director of Stanford Overseas Studies and professor of German studies.
He said the primary factor that led to Stanford's decision was the increased demand on his staff to manage Stanford's own programs overseas. These include study centers in Florence, Oxford, Kyoto, Santiago, Paris, Berlin and Moscow.
Stanford plans to transfer administration of the center when an appropriate new managing organization is identified, according to Fordham University classics Professor Harry B. Evans, chairman of the center's managing committee.
He added that Stanford "has expressed its clear intention to ensure that in this transition there will be no disruption in the smooth functioning of the Rome Center, which is, and will continue to be, fiscally and programatically strong."
Under Stanford's management, the Intercollegiate Center has played a major role in educating the latest generation of classics scholars. Most of the young classicists currently teaching and doing research in American colleges and universities have studied at the center and cite it as an important part of their academic development and training.
In the past 29 years, 96 Stanford students have attended the center in Rome, mostly classics majors. News that Stanford would relinquish its management of the center hit Stanford's Classics Department especially hard, according to Professor Susan Treggiari.
"My reaction was one of great sadness and disappointment," she said. "We've been performing an enormous service to the profession, and I'm very sorry to give up that responsibility.
"The decision is going to damage the reputation of Classics at Stanford," she added, "though it had nothing to do with the department itself."
Evans said that the managing committee will take whatever steps are necessary to continue the viability of the program.
"Overseas Studies and Stanford have been very important to the success of ICCS, and replacing them will be a challenge," Evans said. "But I am confident that we will find a new management organization to carry on the strong role that they have provided.
"In the meantime, the Rome Center is operating as usual under Stanford's very capable management. We look forward to welcoming the next group of students in January of 1995, the 30th anniversary of the founding of ICCS, and to enrolling the groups which follow."
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