Romance and Classical Languages at Ripon College

Academics | Romance and Classical Languages

Romance and Classical Languages

Ripon College offers majors and minors in French and Spanish, as well as minors in classical studies and in Latin, the language that forms their linguistic basis. In addition, classes are offered in Portuguese and in classical Greek. The College also offers a major in foreign languages, and a major and minor in latin american & caribbean studies.

French and Spanish

Given the evolving nature of the modern languages, instruction at the College stresses oral communication, while using reading and writing to reinforce general language proficiency. In advanced classes, we build cross-cultural perspectives and we examine contemporary literary theory.

Native-speaking language assistants share views from their cultural perspectives and provide students an opportunity to utilize their foreign language skills at conversation tables in the dining commons and conversation sessions for all proficiency levels.

The College offers ample opportunities for students to travel to French- and Spanish-speaking countries—and a semester abroad is a requirement for all French and Spanish majors (see below for Unique Opportunities). Language students also participate in faculty-led Maymester study-and-travel experiences to various destinations.

Latin and Greek

Latin, the foundation of the Romance languages and literatures, continues to provide important insights into Western culture. Beginning, intermediate, and advanced Latin are offered; classical Greek is offered on demand; and classical studies courses like Greek mythology, based on texts in English translation, normally are offered each semester. The department also offers classes in classical history, art, and archaeology  as well as etymology (the roots of the English language) and general-interest classes like Heroes Then and Now and The Ancient World on Screen.

Latin American & Caribbean Studies

The Latin American & Caribbean Studies major is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for careers in business or government agencies with interest in Latin America, as well as for continued study of the area on the graduate level. With Spanish as the core offering, Latin American & Caribbean Studies majors also acquire a solid background in anthropology, economics, and politics and government.



Linda Clemente

Geoff Guevara-Geer

Dominique Poncelet

Timothy Reed

Vincent Tomasso

Eddie Lowry Jr.



Off-Campus Study

For those who study French, Ripon College sponsors semester- and year-long study abroad experiences in Paris and in Montpellier, a smaller town in southern France. During these trips, students live with French families while taking university courses. Those students who study Spanish may choose from study abroad programs in Madrid, Toledo, Seville, Alicante, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Brazil.

College faculty members regularly lead Maymester study and other travel experiences, including recent trips to Castilla and León (Spain) in 2011, and Barcelona and neighboring sites in 2010.

Financial aid continues for students who choose to participate in an approved study-abroad program; minimizing additional expenses.



Ripon College encourages all students to embrace a Four-Year Career Development Plan. This plan is based on the premise that career planning is a development process that involves learning and decision-making over an extended period of time.

First Year

  • Incoming students are assigned a Faculty Mentor based on their interest area(s). Please see the FACULTY tab under your major area;
  • All Freshman are required to enroll in a First-Year Seminar, which is designed as a transition from high school to college learning, providing an interdisciplinary introduction to the liberal arts and the pursuit of in-depth study;
  • Freshman are encouraged to meet the career development staff early on and complete interest and skills inventories, and self-assessment tools; and,
  • Attend the pre-Fall Break “Major Fest” to explore the various major options and career tracks.

Third Year

  • Assume leadership positions in on-campus clubs and organizations;
  • Participate in mock interviews with the Career Development Office;
  • Attend the Wisconsin Foundation of Independent Colleges Job Fair in February and other relevant career fairs;
  • If relevant, begin to research potential graduate school programs and take the appropriate entrance exam(s);
  • Continue to meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor;
  • Continue to build a solid network and a list of work references, and build your resume;
  • Consider off-campus study: Semester and/or alternative Spring Breaks;
  • Continue to job shadow; and,
  • Gain further career experience associated with your education during the academic year and as part of a summer job or internship.

Second Year

  • Get involved with on-campus clubs and organizations, athletic teams and/or intramural sports;
  • Attend the pre-Fall Break “Major Fest” to explore the various major options and career tracks;
  • Declare a major;
  • Meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor or match your interests with a faculty member in your major department. Determine which professors have areas of expertise most similar to your interests. Talk to people in the academic department to find out about faculty research, scholarly, and creative interests;
  • Attend on-campus career workshops;
  • Work with the Career Development Office to create an approved resume;
  • Job shadow people involved in various careers and professions of interest; and,
  • Gain further career experience associated with your education during the academic year and as part of a summer job or internship.

Fourth Year

  • Complete a Senior Capstone/Thesis in your major area(s);
  • Continue to meet regularly with your Faculty Mentor;
  • Perfect your interviewing skills;
  • Expand your existing network of contacts;
  • Finalize your resume and prepare cover letter;
  • Build a credential file in the Career Development Office;
  • Interview with on-campus recruiters;
  • Set-up informational interviews with target companies;
  • If relevant, apply to graduate school programs, and if necessary, re-take entrance exams; and,
  • Practice career goal-setting.


Career Tracks

Foreign language study can lead to careers in a variety of areas, including: government, industry and commerce, travel and tourism, interpretation/translation, service, education, arts, media and entertainment.

Some French, Latin, and Spanish graduates from Ripon College have gone on to graduate work in their languages, including Amanda McDonald, a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Others have continued their studies in other fields: Lucy Burgchardt, ’10, is studying for a M.Phil. in archaeology at Cambridge, England; Theresa Kedinger, ’10, is studying non-profit management at Marquette; Katy Heng, ’10, is working on a graduate degree in international relations; Cassondra Meyer, ’10, and Rachel Resop are in medical school; Tanya Garret, ’06, earned a graduate degree in public policy; James Hein, ’08, earned his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary; and Shanna Bude has earned a master’s degree at Garrett Theological Seminar. Larry Honaker ’11 and Elizabeth Knauz ’10 are teaching English in France.

Those heading directly into the workforce have taken many directions, including teaching, the law, accounting, law enforcement and business.