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Latin Honors: FAU’s Wilkes Honors College

Latin Students Excel on National Exam

Latin ExamApril 29th, 2014 (Jupiter, FL)—It’s an annual rite of passage.  Each year in March, Latin students all over the world take a test that lets them know how well they’ve done relative to their peers at other institutions.  The 2014 National Latin Exam was completed by more than 154,000 students, primarily in the United States but also with representations of 17 other nations, including the United Kingdom, China, and Japan.  This year, fourteen students from Florida Atlantic University’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College took the exam, and eight (nearly 70%) qualified for national recognition. 

The students who received honors were:

  • Kira Geiger, gold medal, summa cum laude
  • Colton Hoffer, silver medal, maxima cum laude
  • Amisha Jinandra, silver medal, maxima cum laude
  • Zachariah Merschdorf, silver medal, maxima cum laude
  • Charlie Lewsadder, magna cum laude
  • Vincent Indelicato, cum laude
  • Kaitlyn Shotwell, cum laude

 “I’m extraordinarily pleased by the students’ achievement,” said Jeffrey Buller, dean of the Wilkes Honors College and co-teacher (along with Marcia Anderson) of the award-winning class.  “It’s particularly hard for college students to score well on this test.  Because the exam is open to everyone who’s in a first-year Latin course, including high school students, college students who are just beginning Latin have to take the second year examination, which means that there’s a lot of grammar and cultural material on the test they haven’t had yet.  In order to do well, college students not only have to remember everything they’ve already learned but also use their linguistic and cultural knowledge to draw correct conclusions about things no one has taught them.  To do that and have more than 2/3 of the students win an award … well, that’s almost unbelievable.”

Kira Geiger, a graduating senior who won will remain at FAU next year to pursue a graduate degree in English, won a gold medal summa cum laude in this year’s competition.  Upon learning of the award, Geiger remarked, “I am honored to have received such a high score on the National Latin Exam. Learning Latin has been so enjoyable for me, not only because of all that it as a language has to offer, but also due to its pervasive influence on other languages that I have studied in the past and will continue to pursue.”

Zachariah Merschdorf, who received a silver maxima cum laude award on the test, noted, “I thought it was an excellent assessment of our knowledge of Latin language and culture. It was rewarding to test my proficiency in Latin against students across the country.”  The Honors College is extremely proud to add this nationally normed exam to its portfolio of assessment, indicating the success of its highly competitive academic program.

About Florida Atlantic University: Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu




Last Modified 4/29/14