|About the Lecturer
Michele Valerie Ronnick was born in the only hospital of an old town called Westerly, Rhode Island, which is near the eastern border of the Connecticut shoreline. It was established in the middle of the seventeenth century like New London and Groton Connecticut which is where she spent her earliest years. As a child she lived with her parents in a beautiful house in Groton named Eastern Point. It overlooked Long Island Sound, and had its own safe and dog kennel. For a number of years her parents split their time between Connecticut and Florida where the family wintered on the west coast. She spent her first years on Siesta Key where they lived, and she attended The Out-Of-Door School, a private academy that was housed under Australian pine trees in a series of wood and coquina shell buildings, and which offered swimming, cane-pole fishing and horseback riding on its own beach. It was as a senior at Sarasota High School that Dr. Ronnick began to study Latin. This was due to the advice of her brother, Michael. He, younger by two years, had been - without hyperbole - captivated by his high school Latin teacher, Mrs. Judith Wagner, for he took five years of Latin from the 7th to the 12th grades. This happened when Dr. Ronnick's French teacher, Miss Covington, who had taught her with rigor for three years in her eccentric, Southern and thoroughly Francophile way, decided to retire. Dr. Ronnick soon rewarded Mrs. Wagner's attentions (and delighted her brother) by winning second place in the Latin grammar contest at the district Latin Forum. That year the event was held in Plant City one bitterly cold day in February, and Mrs. Wagner drove her four contestants up there in her white Mustang. A few days later, Dr. Ronnick remembers asking her to find out what she had gotten wrong on the test!
Her next important influence was as an undergraduate when Professor Anna Motto and her husband Professor John Clark showed her how truly engaged scholars lived their lives - both in classics, her field, and in English, his. Several years later it was Dr. Motto who "turned her" into a Latin teacher when she asked Dr. Ronnick to take a position in Jacksonville, Florida - which she did for three years. Dr. Ronnick is happy to say that her certification is yet valid, and that during that time she served as the treasurer of the Classical Association of Florida. Her students at Robert E. Lee and Andrew Jackson High were district and state chariot champions for consecutive years. In 1986 after taking an MA degree in Latin at the University of Florida, Dr. Ronnick moved to Boston. In May of 1990 she received her Ph.D. from Boston University after finishing her dissertation, a detailed study of Cicero's Paradoxa Stoicorum, that was supervised by Professor Meyer Reinhold. In 1996 after three years at Wayne State University, Dr. Ronnick was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor. She has won prizes in teaching from the American Philological Association (1997), Wayne State University, (1998), in scholarship from Classical and Modern Literature (1994), and service awards from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (1996, 1999, 2000). Her research includes classical philology, textual criticism, classical tradition in English and American letters as well as a special study of classics and people of African descent.