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News from the Hilltop

July 18, 2012

Birmingham-Southern College student spending summer studying abroad in England

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Andrew Clack, a rising senior religion major and Harrison Honors Scholar at Birmingham-Southern, is spending his three-month summer break at one of the world's elite centers of learning. Andrew Clack

Clack is studying and staying at Magdalen College in England, under the University of Oxford summer school program. He arrived June 29 and will be studying through Aug. 4.

This year the program is focusing on some of the greatest literary and religious influences of the 20th century, including the Oxford literary group known as the Inklings—a circle of authors which included J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams, among others. Students in the program also are studying the medieval literature which inspired these renowned British authors and thinkers.

The five-week program offers more than 200 students the opportunity to delve into a wide variety of specialized seminar topics. The classes are taught by a combination of leading Oxford scholars and guest professors. During weekends, the students take part in class-related excursions and social events.

Bodleian Library at Magdalen College
Bodleian Library

"I am privileged and so blessed to study in the very building where Lewis, Tolkien, and their friends met weekly for years," said Clack, who is from Albany, Ga. "Their influence, whether it be in 20th-century literature, apologetics, or Hollywood, is unparalleled. In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf tells Frodo that 'even the very wise cannot see all ends.' Though I do not pretend to see the ends of my time here, I feel certain that this study-abroad experience is preparation for what life has in store for me."

Clack is a member of BSC's track and field team and the son of Dawn and Glenn Clack. He received a $3,000 stipend from the Honors Program to fund his travel. After the summer program ends, he plans to stay in Europe for an additional week and travel throughout more of England, Wales, and then Germany.


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