University of Rochester

Local Student Earns Honors in National Classics Competition

May 7, 2003

John Geck of the University of Rochester has won second place in the 54th annual Maurine Dallas Watkins Translation Contest, a national competition that tests college students' knowledge of classic Greek and Latin.

Geck is currently a Take Five Scholar, a University of Rochester program that allows selected students to enhance their undergraduate degrees by taking a fifth year of study tuition-free. Geck majored in English literature and minored in history; for his Take Five project, he studied culture in the medieval British Isles, including religion, art, architecture, and Latin.

This fall, Geck will begin work in a master's program in medieval studies at the University of Toronto. Geck currently is a Rochester resident.

The Maurine Dallas Watkins Translation Contest is sponsored by Eta Sigma Phi, the national classics honor society, and includes categories in Greek and Latin translations and Latin composition. Students take monitored written exams on their campus and are not permitted to use any dictionaries or grammar aids. The papers are sent to a national distribution center and evaluated anonymously by judges elsewhere in the country. Geck earned second place in intermediate Latin translation.

The University of Rochester (on the web at is one of the smallest of the most distinguished private universities in the country. Fewer than 3,700 undergraduates are enrolled in its College, the home of arts, sciences, and engineering programs. College learning centers on the individual with a core mission of research and discovery for each student.