Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Workman, John Rowe

John RoweWorkman (1918-1985), professor of classics, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on June 3, 1918. He was educated at Princeton, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1940, his master’s in 1942, and his Ph.D. in 1943. He served as part-time instructor at Princeton and taught at St. Mark’s School in Southboro, Massachusetts, before coming to Brown as instructor in 1947. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1949, associate professor in 1953, and full professor in 1966. He became the first W. Duncan MacMillan II Professor of Classics in 1979. He was chairman of the Department of Classics from 1959 to 1966. He was one of the founders of the Latin Carol Service at Christmas, wrote the official Latin texts of the University’s official greetings and honorary degree citations, and coached the presidents in pronunciation of their Latin pronouncements at Commencement. He was academic advisor and loyal supporter of the hockey team (his portrait hangs in Meehan Auditorium) and was revered by the students, so much so that the editors of Bear Facts chose to list him under “Brown Traditions:”

“Professor John Workman’s Latin Carol service just before Christmas vacation packs students into Alumnae Hall to listen to professors orating in Latin. The classics professor is also renowned for his Spring Weekend lecture on the Roman Bacchanalia and for his faithful attendance of hockey games – in his seat just beneath the American flag.”
He wrote Arx Antiqua in 1948, A Term of College Latin in 1954, and New Horizons of Higher Education, describing the Identification and Criticism of Ideas curriculum at Brown, in 1959. He retired in 1985 to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he died on September 28, 1985.