Bachelor of Arts, Classical Studies, Phi Beta Kappa ’15
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Donald Antenen left high school after two years to pursue his love of learning by reading the classics, exploring libraries and visiting book stores. He also traveled to places he thought were interesting. He went to New Orleans to help with the Hurricane Katrina relief effort for a couple of months and then moved to Kentucky. Donald worked in the Lexington Public Library and taught computer classes and helped in its literacy center. While still in his teens, Donald decided to earn his General Educational Development (GED). When he was 22, he moved to Philadelphia so his wife could complete her graduate studies in social work. That was when Donald thought he should go to college.
“I thought I might miss out on the fundamentals if I continued to learn on my own. I was aware of the dangers of becoming a dabbler.
I searched online for an undergraduate program. With Penn being closest to our apartment, I walked over to the College of Liberal and Professional Studies to talk about applying to the Bachelor of Arts program.
The team suggested that I start by taking classes at Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), which I did. Then, I applied to Penn and was accepted in 2012.
I wanted to pursue Classical Studies because I love the literature. And I knew I would get to know my professors and fellow students very well, because the department, while great, is relatively small. I became involved with the department’s Undergraduate Advisory Board and served as its Education Chair, which allowed me to organize evening events with professors and co-organize our annual senior colloquium.
Penn has made it possible for me to learn a range of languages. I’ve studied Latin and Greek and now I’m learning Biblical Hebrew. It’s a real gem; a fascinating language.
I also knew that I would have the opportunity to conduct research–in Humanities–as an undergraduate. In 2013, I applied for and was awarded support from the Robert J. Holz Fund to pursue independent research. And, during my senior year, I was named a University Scholar, and was able to spend my summer exploring Plato’s Symposium. It was a wonderful experience.
Since then, I have been named a Dean’s Scholar for academic distinction and elected into the national honor society, Phi Beta Kappa.
For anyone interested in pursuing his or her undergraduate degree, you should have a clear plan of what you want to explore because there is so much to discover on Penn’s campus.”