Dr. Thomas D. Worthen, Associate Professor Emeritus

Dr. Worthen came to the Department of Classics as an ABD from the University of Washington in 1965 (he finished his dissertation in 1968). His colleagues then were Dr. Garnet Percy, Dr. Donald Ayers, and Dr. Richard Jensen. For twenty years he taught three or four sections of c. 60 students in Humanities 50a, 50b, and 50c, and also handled all the Greek instruction for the department. When Dr. Ayers sadly passed away in 1969, Dr. Worthen inherited his course in English words from Latin and Greek elements for which, luckily, Dr. Ayers had published a text in the same year. Dr. Worthen taught this course happily for years as the department words-maven, and revised the Ayers book for the UA Press in 1989. By then Dr. Worthen had turned his attention to the arcane side of mythology and published a book called The Myth of Replacement: Stars, God, and Order in the Universe in 1991. The department had then grown to some ten professors and Dr. Worthen spent most of his teaching duties (now reduced considerably from the five and six courses per semester at the beginning) teaching Greek language and literature. Over the course of his career he translated and discussed virtually all of Plato's works with classics and philosophy students at local coffee shops. He retired after a distinguished career of thirty-four years in May 1999. Dr. Worthen remained active in scholarship until his death on September 20, 2016. Immediately after retirement, generous donations from former students, colleagues and friends led to the establishment of the Thomas D. Worthen Prize, which is awarded annually to an undergraduate Classics major for excellence in Greek.


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