Who's Who Top Educators

John Norman Austin, PhD

Title: Professor Emeritus
Company: University of Arizona
Location: Phoenix, Arizona, United States

John Norman Austin, Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in Greek poetry education.

Dr. Austin was born and raised in China as the son of missionaries.  He attended a British boarding school which became one of the most important influences in his life, including as Latin Master.  He began Latin at the age of 11, and when he went to the University of Toronto he started studying Greek, which once again helped inform his career decision. He was drawn to Greek literature after discovering the physiological depths of the tragedies.  While there, he studied under a very charismatic educator, Professor Ronald Shepherd.  After that, he went to the University of California and enrolled in the classics program.

As aforementioned, Dr. Austin earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in 1958 and carried out his academic pursuits at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving a Master of Arts in 1959 and a PhD in 1965. He began teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1966 as an assistant professor and then as an associate professor. Following this, he joined Boston University for two years as an Aurelio Professor of Greek. Following this position, he spent the next two years at the University of Massachusetts as a professor and as the Chairman of the Department of Classics.  In 1980, Dr. Austin relocated to the University of Arizona, working at the institution for the remainder of his career. He served as the Acting Dean of Humanities, then as the Head of the Department of Classics. Throughout his entire tenure at the university, he was a professor of classics. Upon retiring in 2000, he was bestowed with the honorary professor emeritus title. He has also been a visiting professor at Leeds University and a visiting lecturer at Yale University.

In his line of work, Dr. Austin has been recognized as a junior fellow with the Center for Hellenic Studies, as well as a J.S. Guggenheim Foundation fellow. Throughout his career, Dr. Austin has contributed to dialogue through published works, such as his 1975 work Archery at the Dark of the Moon. He has also published Meaning and Being in Myth, Helen of Troy and Her Shameless Phantom, and Philoctetes and the Great Soul Robbery. The idea of relevance of the classics was always important to him. Teaching mythology with his students being inspired has always been the highlight of his career.

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