University of Southern Indiana

Lawrence Fellowship, collection allow students to touch ancient history

Foley and LawrenceAs the recipient of the College of Liberal Arts' first John M. Lawrence '73 Fellowship, Paul Foley handled the artifacts of ancient civilizations and curated an exhibit in the College's new Lawrence Library. The exhibit, "Selections from the Lawrence Medieval Collection," was on display in fall 2014 and spring 2015.

The Lawrence Library is home to USI's collection of medieval manuscripts and other artifacts, many donated by John M. Lawrence '73 for use as a study collection to benefit USI students.

Lawrence, who holds an accounting degree from USI, was strongly impacted by his Liberal Arts professors at USI and went on to become an international expert and collector of ancient manuscripts. He has given generously to the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Nursing and Health Professions over the years.

Foley is a senior history major minoring in classical studies. "It's been an awesome opportunity getting to work with John Lawrence's collection," he said. "Even some graduate students never have the chance to work hands-on with manuscripts like this."

The pieces on exhibit – primarily manuscripts – are united in that they all originated in the medieval period. A variety of languages are represented, including Coptic, German, Greek, Latin, Persian and Sanskrit. In order to interpret, identify and translate the materials, Foley recruited College of Liberal Arts faculty and searched online image databases.

The exhibit also included a Greek bell krater – a vessel used to mix water with wine – from ca.350 BC. Lawrence donated the krater to USI in honor of Dr. Daniel Scavone, professor emeritus of history. Michael Aakhus, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said the krater is in "amazing condition" for such an object. Rob Millard-Mendez, associate professor of art, built a special pedestal for its display.

Foley also worked with Lawrence to restore a Spanish monastic manuscript from the 16th century. "It really fits the vision of the library for students like me to be able to hold and even do research on pieces of history like this that might have just been thrown into a vault at another university," Foley said.

Lawrence Library is located in the lower level of the Liberal Arts Center, LA 0119. For more information, call 812-464-1855 or visit the Lawrence Library website.


Learn More
Learn more about history degree programs and the Lawrence Library at USI on our website - or call USI Admission at 800-467-1965.

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