John H. Oakley, Chancellor Professor and Forest D. Murden Jr. Professor in the Department of Classical Studies at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, delivered the eighth annual McKibben Lecture in Classical Studies on April 25, 2013. His talk, entitled "Athenian White Lekythoi: Masterpieces of Greek Funerary Art," discussed the scenes found on white lekythoi and what these scenes tell us about classical Athenian perceptions of and reactions to death.
Professor Oakley received his B.A. from Rutgers University in Ancient History, and, also from Rutgers, his M.A. in Classics and his Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology. He has taught at the College of William and Mary since 1980, with visiting appointments at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, Princeton University, the University of Freiburg in Germany, and the University of Brussels. He is an expert on ancient Greek vases who has published a dozen books, including, with Cambridge University Press, a work on white lekythoi entitled Picturing Death in Classical Athens. In addition he has published over seventy-five articles and chapters, and he has lectured very widely. He is a longtime contributor of service to both the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Archaeological Institute of America.
The McKibben Lecture in Classical Studies is sponsored by the Department of Classics and honors Bill and Betty McKibben, whose combined service to Grinnell College and to the greater Grinnell community totaled more than a century.