[Posted as 3 of 10 in a series on the College Archives by Emma Paine, a graduate student intern from Simmons College]

Campo_1Did you know that 60% of Trinity students travel abroad at some point during their college career?  And did you know that it all started in the 1970’s as an experimental little summer program in Rome?  The highs and the lows of this first year are all documented in the papers of Dr. Michael Campo, J.J. McCook Professor of Languages, Emeritus; former Director of the Barbieri Center for Italian Studies, and founder of study away at Trinity College.

On September 2, 1969, the Curricular Committee voted to approve Dr. Campo’s proposal to establish a Trinity College Summer Program in Rome.  Three days later, the faculty concurred, and Trinity’s first study abroad program was on the way to becoming a reality.   According to the proposal, “Rome [was] a natural center for such a learning experience,” but it was such a “natural center” that Trinity had to compete with several other schools that already offered programs there.  In order to stand out from the pack and attract the 200 students needed to make the endeavor a financial success, Trinity advertised a “broad diversity of course offerings taught by an able faculty,” offering classes like “The Architecture of the City of Rome,” “Elements of Drawing and Design,” “Introductory Italian,” and “Latin Literature in Translation,” as well as an archeology program that allowed students to participate in a real dig.   Lest the very idea of the dig discourage enrollment in the latter, though, Dr. Campo reassured the students: “Do not get apprehensive about the digging,” he wrote, “- there will be just enough to give you an idea of excavation techniques.  It will not be strenuous at all…There will, if course, be good shower facilities at the camp.”

Campo_2Although Dr. Campo faced many challenges when it came to scheduling and advertising the program and enrollment was considerably lower than anticipated, he managed to work out the issues and at 4pm on June 10, 1970, approximately 11 staff members and 112 students set out for a six-week adventure in Rome.  According to the official report, the program went well— any and all difficulties were swiftly overcome and the archaeology students greatly enjoyed excavating a particularly rich Etruscan tomb they lovingly called “Moby Dick” because of the high vaulted ceilings.   Dr. Campo’s personal papers tell a slightly different story, however, starting with a letter thanking him for his “long and newsy letter describing the incredible complications in the program there” and ending with this:

Campo_3Why the orange juice?  Who is Miss DeGrazia?  What happened to her shoes?  Where were they going in the car?  And what happened to the gas pump?  There’s definitely a story (or several) happening here!

To learn more about Michael Campo and the early days of study away, stop by the Watkinson and ask for the finding aid.

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 26th, 2014 at 9:10 pm and is filed under College Archives, Interns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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