by Elise Goitia '18
After educating students at Knox for more than four decades, Szold Distinguished Service Professor of Classics Stephen Fineberg celebrated his retirement with fellow faculty and members of the Knox community.
At his retirement reception in May, he was remembered and praised for the work he had done while at Knox.
Professor of Anthropology Larry Breitborde said in a speech that as a professor, Fineberg is "committed to the idea that principle will only encourage and engage students with respect to other people."
"I don't know who is better skilled or more prepared to find ways to engage students in that conversation for the last four decades," Breitborde added. "I congratulate my friend, Steve, on what he has continued to maintain over the lifetime of his career."
Fineberg taught at Knox for 41 years, beginning the year after he received his Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Texas in 1975. His teaching interests have been Greek language, art, and architecture and Greek and Roman origins of Western thought.
As a faculty member, Fineberg has served as an advisor to off-campus programs (College Year in Athens, Newberry Library, and London-Florence) and was past director of the Newberry Library and Florence programs. In 2014, Knox alumni and students accompanied Fineberg to Greece to study Greek art and architecture.
Some of Fineberg's former students sent in their recollections and favorite memories.
"Sappho assures her readers in fragment 147 that ‘someone in a future time will remember us,'" said Aileen Ball '99. "And so, today, I am sending this letter of love to someone I haven't seen in 15 years, but is written into the story of my life. Thank you, Steve, for the tremendous impact you have had on me."
Ball, now an executive associate of academic affairs at the University of Kansas, writes that while her work today is not directly related to classics, how she approaches her work still bears Steve's insistence that his students think deeply and critically.
"Your commitment to your scholarship, your teaching, and the lives of your students has shaped my life and the lives of so many others," she added.
Keith Jones '89 commented that after 30 years in the teaching business, "I can say easily that Steve remains one of the most important influences on me as a thinker, a scholar, and a teacher."
"I don't know what elements make a good teacher," he said. "But whatever success I've had as a teacher, I've had because I've imitated the best teacher I know."