When I tell people that I’ve chosen to pursue a degree in Classics, I get many blank faces and questions including, “As in literature, right?” or, “What even is that?” After I explain that Classics is the study of the languages and cultures of Ancient Greece and Rome, one of the next questions is, “Who studies that anymore?”

Fear not, while studying Classics was once the basis for education in the western world, there are still people who continue to study these subjects today.

I have compiled a few names of people who have studied Classics in the past and many of them will be familiar.



J.K. Rowling

Author of The "Harry Potter" series, B.A. in Classics from Exeter University



Boris Johnson

Mayor of London, received B.A. from Balliol College, Oxford University



Lynn Sherr

ABC News Correspondent for "20/20," B.A. in Classics from Wellesley College



James Garfield

20th President of the United States, graduated with a degree in Classics from Williams College



Jonathan Evans, Baron Evans of Weardale

Former Director General of the British Security Service (MI5) from 2007-2013, degree in Classical Studies, Bristol University



Jane Addams

Activist and social worker, studied Greek and Latin, earning a B.A from Rockford Female Seminary (Rockford College) in Indiana



Sigmund Freud

Psychologist, famous for developing psychoanalysis, excelled in his study of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew at Leopoldstädter Kommunal-Realgymnasium



Thomas Jefferson

3rd President of the United States, studied Greek while a student at the College of William and Mary and avid reader of Roman literature, went on to establish the University of Virginia, where students were encouraged to study Classics



J.R.R. Tolkein

Author of "Lord of the Rings," studied Classics at Exeter College, Oxford, but received a degree in English Literature


Chuck Geschke

Founder of Adobe Systems, received B.A in Classics from Xavier University


Tom Hiddleston

Actor, degree in Classics from Pembroke College, University of Cambridge


James Baker

Former Secretary of State under George H.W Bush, B.A in Classics from Princeton University


Jerry Brown

Current Governor of California, received B.A in Classics from University of California, Berkeley


William Cohen

Secretary of Defense under President Clinton, B.A in Latin from Bowdoin College


Chris Martin

Lead singer of the band Coldplay, degree in Ancient World Studies with first class honours in Latin and Greek from University College London



All of these people have gone into a variety of fields that include writing books, becoming scientists, and holding important political positions. This proves that Classics is a universal field that can beneficial for many paths and that has many uses among very different professions.



Sources (and lists with more famous people):

http://classics.nd.edu/careers/famous-students-of-the-classics/

http://classics.uwaterloo.ca/labyrinth/tiresias/FamousClassicists.html

http://willamette.edu/cla/classics/careers/addams/

http://puffin1.creighton.edu/clc/FamousClassicsMajors.htm

https://www.mi5.gov.uk/sir-jonathan-evans

http://blogs.transparent.com/latin/famous-people-who-studied-latin/

http://rogueclassicism.com/folks-you-didnt-know-maybe-had-classics-degrees/