Rice University’s Danny Graves is one of 20 students nationally awarded a Beinecke Scholarship. The award is given to a select group of college juniors to support graduate education in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
Graves will receive $34,000 for graduate school in recognition of his “outstanding record of academic accomplishment, thoughtful personal statement and well-conceived plans, together with the enthusiastic endorsements from members of the faculty,” said Thomas Parkinson, director of the Beinecke Scholarship Program.
Graves, a member of Will Rice College, is a double major in ancient Mediterranean civilizations and classical studies. He said he had “no exposure” to these subjects in Granger High School near his hometown of Holland, Texas, but two courses during his freshman year at Rice convinced him to “stick with classics”: Intro to Ancient Greek and Ancient Empires.
“I just really fell in love with ancient Greek and later Latin as well,” Graves said. “Languages are a lot of fun.”
He said the Ancient Empires course taught by Michael Maas, professor of history and classical studies, got him interested in the factors that brought about the rise and fall of empires. “I really enjoyed his lectures, which showed how ancient historical scenarios were relevant to modern history and politics,” Graves said.
With graduate school more than a year away, Graves is still pondering what his area of study will be. “In general, I’m interested in changes in Greek and Latin historiography (the writing of history) over time and how historiography has shaped our understanding and interpretations of major historical events,” he said.
Graves said his Rice education has prepared him for the intensive work that graduate studies require. “My language preparation in Greek, Latin and French here has been stellar, and through the many history and anthropology courses that I’ve taken, I have improved my writing and presentation skills immensely and learned how scholars in different disciplines approach similar historical problems,” he said.
During graduate school Graves will likely travel to Italy and Greece for archaeological excavations or for conferences. “In these countries, I would gain a better understanding of how material culture informs our understanding of ancient peoples,” he said.
After graduate school, Graves hopes to become a professor and teach courses in classical languages, history and archaeology. He also received a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, which provides mentoring and financial support for entry into Ph.D. programs and a career as a scholar and faculty member.
The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the board of directors of the Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick and Walter Beinecke, three brothers in New York City who led the company in the 1920s and built it into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.