Honoring Angelia Hanhardt: a brief encomium for Lia from her admiring colleague Greg

2021.09.13, rewritten 2021.09.19 | By Gregory Nagy


§0. The date of this posting, 13 September 2021, marks the last day that Angelia Hanhardt works for the Center for Hellenic Studies. Every Monday, for the longest time, this treasured young colleague of mine has been editing my weekly essays submitted to Classical Inquiries in her capacity as Assistant Editor of C.I. In my case, I have usually succeeded in submitting my own weekly content to Lia toward the end of each weekend, and she would always manage, miraculously, to edit and post by noontime on Monday. Lia is such a master of the strenuous academic art of “rapid publication,” as she modestly describes her seraphically wise editing! But this Monday will be unusual for both Lia and myself, since the content I am posting myself today is meant to be a happy surprise for Lia. I so wanted to honor her on her last day at work for the CHS—and she deserves so much more honor than I can ever express. To give proper honor to Lia, modest as she always is about her brilliance as an editor, I will try my best to compress as much as I can as I attempt the impossible in what follows—that is, to praise Lia for all she has done not only for C.I. but also for other vital projects connected with the CHS. I limit myself here to highlighting merely three such projects.

§1. I start with one particular project that is personally all-important to me—a project that has involved Lia from the very start. We call it A Homer Commentary in Progress (I have written a brief history of the project in an article linked here, and the project itself can be found here). The founding editors of AHCIP are, besides myself, two Senior Fellows of the CHS, Douglas Frame and Leonard Muellner. Lia has been an essential part of the editorial team of AHCIP, having served all along as Assistant Editor and working in direct support of the Senior Editors. Two of those editors, besides Douglas Frame and Leonard Muellner, are also, like Doug and Lenny, Senior Fellows of the CHS: they are Richard P. Martin of Stanford and Laura Slatkin of NYU. I must add that another one of the Senior Editors for AHCIP is David F. Elmer, currently Chair of the Classics Department at Harvard.

§2. Lia has had a vital role in another important project: she has been the convener of the CHS Publications Committee chaired by Leonard Muellner, working closely with the Executive Editors Casey Dué Hackney of the University of Houston and Mary Ebbott of the College of the Holy Cross, who are also leaders of the Homer Multitext Project (link here).

§3. And then there is a third project, which evolved under the direct leadership of Lia herself. In writing my praise of Lia here, I have been aided by Leonard Muellner, whose deep understanding of Information Technology has I hope made the words of praise here as accurate as Lenny and I can make them. But our happy words of praise will be mixed here with some words of sadness, as will become clear as we launch into the paragraph that follows.

§4. After her graduation from Georgetown University five years ago, Lia started working for the CHS as a publications intern and then was rapidly promoted as an editorial assistant. But her talents as a technician and as a trainer of technicians were beyond anything any of us expected. She took on the creation of a new and highly ambitious program to involve the worldwide community of amateur and professional Hellenists as volunteers in the verification of 8 million words of Ancient Greek in order to complete the corpus of texts called “The First Thousand Years of Greek” (link here). Since January, when she began training the seven former summer interns who were going to both train and supervise the volunteers in the new technologies involved, she has demonstrated remarkable logistical, administrative, and social skills in welding what has become a group of over 400 volunteers into a thriving community that has exceeded all expectations in the quantity and the quality of the work that it has accomplished. Almost 1.8 million words have been verified in two three-month sessions.

§5. Having described the extraordinary contributions of Lia to three important projects—and there have been many more—I conclude, for now, my happy words of praise and acknowledge for a moment my sadness at losing Lia as a full-time colleague whose work I admire and have benefited from. But this sad note is counterbalanced by my happiness in praising Lia for all that she has done for C.I. as also for the CHS. I am confident that Lia will continue to find fulfillment and happiness in her stellar work as editor and educator.