Faculty Profile: Matthew Carter

Nancy Ng

Like the first-year class, Visiting Professor of Classics Matthew Carter is only in his second semester at Colgate, joining the Classics department in early August 2004. During this relatively short amount of time, he has already demonstrated an enthusiasm for actively engaging in events on campus, a definitive quality of the Colgate spirit. Carter has lectured on Virgil’s depiction of the nightingale as a bird of sorrow for the Humanities Colloquium Series held in the Ho Lecture Room. His most recent exploit involves taking up the role of an Athenian ambassador in playwright Aristophanes’ Lysistrata.”I was delighted to be asked by Professor Garland to play the role,” Carter said. “It was fun being able to laugh behind the scenes with the cast during rehearsals.”In response to possible criticism that he crossed the line of acceptable behavior for a professor, Carter emphasized that he was merely acting in the play.”I think that the cast had to trust each other’s instincts because the play contained some really racy humor, but I also think that critics need to keep in mind that we were just acting,” he said. “I would be saddened if the obscene jokes were to detract from or obscure the greater, deeper, just and humane message of the play – which is to take Latin 121.”Although he may have offered this last comment in jest, Carter is a firm believer that learning another language is the best way to become better native speakers of English and advocates this pursuit for all Colgate students. Learners of Latin, for example, acquire and master a plethora of syntactic knowledge that serves to improve their use and understanding of English grammar.Carter, who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, graduated from Harvard in 1999 and recently completed graduate studies at Oxford University in May 2004. A large part of the reason that he decided to come to Colgate was the warm reception and welcome he received from his colleagues. He also loved the close and frequent interaction professors are able to have with students, a distinguishing aspect of a Colgate liberal arts education. Outside of the classroom, Carter enjoys playing Scrabble, watching movies, reading and playing left-handed pieces on the piano, as he does not have use of his right hand. Within the classroom, Carter is currently teaching Greek lyric and Latin elegiac poetry and leading two independent studies. He enjoys teaching Classics majors for their passion and enthusiasm for the subject and students majoring outside of the discipline for the different perspectives they bring to the class. His current research pertains to a thesis centered on the study of the third book of the Aeneid. Carter hopes that, for students conducting their own research, the convenience of Google does not keep them from the richness of resources that they may find at the library.Before the passing of a year, Carter has managed to immerse himself in exciting events on campus, keeping busy with work he is passionate about and developing a true love of Colgate.”I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am to be paid to do what I love and for the continual support of the faculty in my department in all my endeavors,” Carter said.