Published on June 17, 2024 by Diamond Nunnally  
UC Trip 2024 2

Twenty six University Fellows studied abroad in Italy, May 13-26. They visited Florence, Rome and the city of Pompeii, to culminate their first two years of studies at Samford University. As a fellow, students take Western Intellectual Tradition courses where they learn all about significant thinkers from Aristotle to Augustine, Machiavelli and Dante. 

“This course sequence is devoted to guiding the University Fellows through the works of some of the greatest minds in history to develop them spiritually, intellectually and morally,” University Fellows director Todd Krulak said. “The students participate in Socratic seminars in which they discuss and debate the ideas they encounter.”

University Fellow Lillie Inman said, “My favorite part of the trip was exploring Italy with my University Fellows cohort. We have spent two years growing in knowledge and wisdom together through the University Fellows curriculum, and in doing so, we have formed deep bonds of friendship with one another.” 

Students read texts during their travels and then discussed the meaning and significance, providing a unique opportunity to deepen their understanding of these influential figures in the very places where they lived and wrote. 

“Getting to experience Italy and connect many sights to the things we have read over the past two years was an amazing experience,” Inman said. 

Also accompanying students on their trip were Classics and Philosophy interim chair Doug Clapp and Associate Professor Andrew Montgomery.  

Howard College of Arts and Sciences dean Dawn McCormack said, “Being in Italy is never a bad thing, but what made this experience so phenomenal was the exceptionally bright students and the interactions they had with expert faculty.”  

As an Egyptologist, McCormack taught students about the different obelisks found in Rome.  

She said, “They fall into several categories: obelisks taken from ancient Egyptian monuments, Roman obelisks carved in Egypt with their attempts at replicating or creating hieroglyphic inscriptions (they then brought these to Rome) and uninscribed obelisks which are all Roman.”  

Students toured numerous historical sites, including the Colosseum, the Domus Aurea (Nero’s complex that has been excavated and lay completely underground), museums and churches where the authors attended or were commemorated. They also immersed themselves in the Italian food scene, eating cultural staples like pizza, pasta and gelato.  

“The University Fellows Italy experience was an opportunity of a lifetime,” Inman said. “Going abroad is always a wonderful opportunity but getting to do so with a cohort of some of your closest college friends, guided by professors who know and care about both you and the wonderful sights and history they are walking you through, is truly an extraordinary experience!” 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.