Dr. Jody Millward received a standing ovation after she spoke about the importance of literature in today’s society based on Greek mythology, Wednesday at the 40th Annual Faculty Lecture inside the Garvin Theatre.
Millward’s lecture focused on Euripides’ classic Greek tragedy “Medea,” and explored the issues of justice, leadership, and the feminine, drawing parallels to modern-day issues.
“Literature allows students to draw on the discipline-specific knowledge they bring into the classroom,” said Millward, associate professor for the English department. “It is the most interdisciplinary of all subjects.”
Millward read from students’ journals, noting that they found connections between Medea’s situation and the quest for justice to modern feminist issues such as the #MeToo movement and the Kavanaugh hearing.
She believes that insights like this prove literature is integral to education as it helps students incorporate different opinions and experiences into their analysis.
In her talk, Millward provided background information on the situation and sorrows of Medea, betrayed by her husband Jason and forced into exile. Heartbroken, Medea exacts the justice she sees fit for Jason, killing his new bride as well as her own children.
“My talk today is a grim one,” Millward said. “Most of you know me as a joker, but I need to affirm it is a tragedy”.
Millward incorporated paintings and imagery into her lectures, as well as live readings of the play by students Kirstyn Birkhofer and Benjamin Early.
Speaking at a Faculty Lecture is the highest honor for a professor at City College, and Millward’s colleagues pointed to her dedication to students as the clear reason that she was selected.
“She’s not here for a paycheck, she’s here to help her students,” said Dr. Peter Georgakis, math professor and 2005 Faculty Lecturer.
Millward’s co-founded both the Multicultural English Transfer Program and the College Achievement Program, and works to ensure students reach their goals and have sufficient support in doing so.
“She’s a really great role model,” said Alan Morales, a former student of Millward. “She’s very funny, very heartwarming.”
Millward worked to incorporate as many voices and perspectives as she can into her talks and said she believes that “we can all work together for justice and dignity,” returning again to the central themes of Medea.
As the event came to a close, Millward returned to the stage with flowers and medal in hand.
“I’m so thankful all of you came,” she said. “But I’m even more thankful to be done.”