A Latin teacher for more than three decades, Joy K. King’s fascination with the language began in high school. Her mother signed her up for a college preparation program that required four years of Latin, and Dr. King ended up loving it. She even participated in a statewide Latin contest through which the top two senior students were awarded scholarships to colleges in Illinois. Dr. King ranked in the top two her sophomore and junior years of high school, but World War II halted the contest her senior year. She managed to persuade the donors to grant her a scholarship to Knox College anyway, and after adding three years of Greek to her repertoire, her good marks ensured it was renewed until she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Languages in 1947. She furthered her knowledge with a Master of Arts in Latin from the University of Wisconsin in 1952 and a PhD in Classics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1969.
Dr. King’s first position at the university level was at the University of Colorado, her graduate alma mater. She knew she had found a home there, so she served the school in roles like associate classics professor and chairman of the department for the remainder of her career. She accepted the distinguished title of professor emerita in 1991. Prior to this, she spent five years teaching in Illinois high schools.
To Dr. King, one of the highlights of working in academia was helping others learn more about Latin, which in turn helped them learn more about their own language. She was also thrilled with the opportunity to do scholarly work on the Latin authors Propertius, Catullus, and Lucretius. Dr. King contributed her knowledge to “Colorado Classics: A Newsletter,” and other professional publications: The Classical Journal, Classical World, Philologus, The Classical Outlook, Wiener Studien, Classical Philology, and Wurzburger Jahrbuch fur die Altertum Wissenschaft Neue Folge. Her efforts led to accolades like the Ovatio Award from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, the Knox College Scroll of Honor, the University of Colorado Service Award, an award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and the Student-Alumni Teaching Award from the University of Colorado. A festschrift in her honor, “Woman’s Power, Man’s Game: Essays on Classical Antiquity,” edited by Mary de Fotest was published in 1993 by Bolchazy Carducci Publishers.
When Dr. King has spare time, she enjoys traveling. Some of her most memorable trips include Africa, Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand. She also enjoys being an officer of the Horizon West Homeowners Association.