Reading, writing ... and GreekOne of the few textbooks that Dakota Wesleyan University student Derric Ludens could find to help with his independent study project had a 1933 copyright date. That’s not so strange when you’re studying ancient Greek and Latin. Ludens, 22, of Geddes, is one of 195 DWU graduates who will receive diplomas at DWU commencement exercises at 2 p.m. today at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
One of the few textbooks that Dakota Wesleyan University student Derric Ludens could find to help with his independent study project had a 1933 copyright date.
That’s not so strange when you’re studying ancient Greek and Latin.
Ludens, 22, of Geddes, is one of 195 DWU graduates who will receive diplomas at DWU commencement exercises at 2 p.m. today at the Corn Palace in Mitchell.
Today’s ceremony will include the conferral of 14 master’s degrees, 108 bachelor’s degrees and 77 associate’s degrees. Of those graduating, six earned summa cum laude honors, 10 earned magna cum laude honors and 15 earned cum laude honors. Thirteen students with associate’s degrees will graduate with honors.
Ludens will graduate with a dual major in history and English.
The son of dairy farmers James and Eileen Ludens, he discovered early on that a life with cows just wasn’t in the cards.
Of farm life, he said, “I enjoy it, but I’ve got really bad allergies.”
For his history “capstone,” or final project, Ludens translated the works of the ancient Greek historians Thucydides, Herodotus and Diodorus. Diodorus, he explained, attempted to write a history of the world. The end of the work is missing, so it isn’t known if Diodorus ever completed the work or if his ambition outran his personal resources.
Compared with those classics, Ludens said with nary a hint of arrogance, he found translating the Bible from the original Greek relatively easy.
Ludens was homeschooled. His learning was self-paced through a series of schooling DVDs published by A Beka, an accredited home-schooling program. The program had “amazing history and English teachers,” he said.
Ludens admitted that his high school years were occasionally lonely.
“But I caught up socially at DWU,” he laughed.
Greek and Latin are not a regular part of DWU’s curriculum, Ludens said, but professors Joseph Ditta and Vince Redder inspired and tutored him in his classical studies. Books used for his capstone project were specially ordered from Oxford University in England.
He will graduate with a 3.9 grade-point average — he received one A-minus, he said with feigned annoyance — and will attend graduate school this fall at the University of South Dakota, where he plans to work toward a doctoral degree in classical studies. He will help earn his way with a teaching assistantship. His first freshman teaching assignment will be “Introduction to Literature.”
“Eventually, I hope to teach in some small, liberal arts college,” he said.
Ludens is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society, and Pi Gamma Mu, an honor society for the social sciences.
During his time at Wesleyan, Ludens was active in the school’s TRIO peer-mentoring program. He said he enjoyed his undergraduate years, “but they went really fast.”
Also at today’s ceremony, DWU President Robert Duffett will present an honorary doctor of arts degree to long-time DWU benefactor David R. Jackson.
Jackson, an alumnus from the class of 1971, helped design and provide funding for Jackson Plaza, a picturesque courtyard and fountain southwest of the McGovern Library. He was awarded DWU’s Outstanding Citizen Award in 2005 and the William I. Graham Award in 2007. The latter award acknowledged financial support of $500,000 or more since 1986.