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Ty Patterson in the arboretum

For Ty Patterson, it is impossible to choose just one favorite class in the department of classics. 

“Describing the faculty in classics as an all-star assemblage would not even come close to highlighting their prestige, kindness and passion,” said Patterson, a junior from Waxhaw. 

Patterson first connected with classics faculty members when he was still in high school. Before accepting his UNC admissions offer, he emailed professors in the department to get a feel for the community.  

The emails he got back were filled with excitement and encouragement, sentiments that have only grown stronger in the past three years.  

“The close-knit community of the classics department makes Carolina feel like a small school,” said Patterson, adding that everyone knows one another’s names and “superstars of the field are more than happy to provide either wonderful conversations or hands-on career advice.” 

In addition to his major, Patterson has minors in archaeology and comparative literature, two passions he discovered through UNC classes and extracurriculars. He also works in the Research Laboratories of Archaeology, “washing, sorting and cataloging pottery, bones and other archeological matter found at Indigenous settlements in North Carolina.” 

Patterson is the president of Eta Sigma Phi, the honorary collegiate society for classics students.  

One of his all-time favorite UNC memories is celebrating his induction to the group with cake and nerdy classics-themed jokes. From trivia to tutoring to Grecian movie nights, he said, the group has been a joy to lead and learn from. 

Looking ahead, Patterson is excited for his senior year and for the possibility of furthering his classics knowledge in graduate school. He thanks his classmates, friends, professors and “fantastic, invaluable” faculty mentor Emily Baragwanath for inspiring his “more unique and creative areas of interest.” 

“My dreams of exploring the ancient Greek world through classics feels like a group effort on behalf of the professors and graduate students I have been lucky enough to meet at Carolina.” 

By Jess Abel ’19

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