Dr. Charles J. McNamara


Class of 2003
Career Pathway: Arts & Communications

Dr. Charles Joseph McNamara was nominated by Carol Ramaswamy.

In high school, Charley competed on the forensics team (twice a state finalist), was a cast and crew member for the GHS Players' musicals and plays, ran for the cross country team, competed in solo/ensemble competitions as a pianist and accompanied other musicians on the piano. 

He was named an AP scholar with distinction and class valedictorian, and he was the recipient of the Roy O. Milnes Award his senior year.

He earned an artium baccalaureus (A.B.) degree from Harvard University in 2007 and a Ph.D. with distinction in classics from Columbia University in 2016. His dissertation title is Quintilian's Theory of Certainty and its Afterlife in Early Modern Italy.

Dr. McNamara is presently a core lecturer for Contemporary Civilization courses at Columbia University.

Previously, he was awarded an NEH/SCS post-doctoral fellowship to work on the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae in Munich from fall 2016 to fall 2017; he taught Latin, Greek and Contemporary Civilization in Columbia's Department of Classics from 2011 to 2016; he taught Latin for the Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study in 2014, 2015 and 2016; and he was a member of the English faculty in the Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, School District for Teach for America from fall 2007 to spring 2009.

His honors and other fellowships include the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Louis A. Parks Graduate Fellowship in Classics, both from Columbia in 2016, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation Fellowship from 2009 to 2015, the Harvard Latin Salutatorian Commencement Award in 2007 (where he shared the stage with Bill Gates and delivered his speech in Latin), the B.J. Whiting Prize from Harvard in 2007, the Charles Segal Fellowship from Harvard in 2006 and the Franklin Ford Award from Harvard in 2006. 

He has published three peer-reviewed articles and several general-audience articles, including "If Trump Cares about Western Civilization, He Needs to Fund the Arts," which appeared in the Washington Post on July 10, 2017. He has given numerous conference presentations and talks, held workshops and organized and/or moderated conferences. 

He has been the classics section editor for the Open Library of Humanities since 2014 and was the assistant editor of the Erasmus of Rotterdam Society Yearbook in 2011-2012. He was a pianist for the Barnard/Columbia Ancient Drama Group's performances of Thyestes (2013) and Alcestis (2012) and was a cast member in the group's performances of Iliad, Book IX (2011) and Persa (2010).  

As well as being fluent in Latin and Greek, he is also proficient in German, Spanish and Italian.

His father Michael, brother John and other family members also graduated from Grayling High School.