‘What’s more enjoyable than reading Homer or Plato?’ he asks

Who says the ancient worlds of Greece and Rome are "dead"? They certainly are alive and well to Gabriel Hauser, a York student who has won the Harry C. Maynard Scholarship in Classical Studies.

This $3,000 scholarship, which is administered by the Ontario Classical Association, is awarded annually to one university student from Ontario who is pursuing an undergraduate degree in the field.

Though Hauser came to York not knowing what he wanted to study, he knew that he enjoyed studying subjects like history and philosophy. The award-winning student has been interested in the ancient world ever since he was a child. It was during his first year of university, however, that he decided to study classics and he credits his first-year professors for encouraging him in his decision. "The classics department has some amazing professors, and that was definitely an incentive," he says.

Currently in his third year, Hauser hopes to continue his studies in classics at the graduate level, aspiring to one day become a professor in the field. "What is more enjoyable than reading the works of Homer, Plato, Caesar and Virgil – and in the original languages!” he says. "These figures – and many others from the ancient world – have provided invaluable insight into the human condition."

PlatoA focussed student and winner of various other academic awards, Hauser was awarded the scholarship based on an impressive academic record, letters of recommendation and an essay about an event in the ancient world that significantly changed the course of history. For his essay, he chose to write about the impact of Plato’s Academy on both classical and modern scholarship.

Right: Statue of Plato

The Academy attracted thinkers from all over the Mediterranean who studied a variety of academic areas and provided a stimulating intellectual environment for budding academics. "In this way, the Academy can be seen as the ancestor to the modern university," Hauser explains. "I felt that it was a fitting choice because of how much I enjoy my studies and wish to continue them with the help of this award."

The scholarship has given the York student a great confidence boost, while putting to rest many of his worries over financial concerns. "It will allow me to enjoy my studies for their own sake, rather than worrying about money," he said.

"It is a great honour and I am very proud," said Hauser. "I am also glad to bring at least a little attention to York’s awesome Classical Studies Program [in the Faculty of Arts]."