Marion Kruse was already turning heads in the Department of Classical Studies before he left Richmond to spend part of his junior year abroad in Edinburgh. As a sophomore, he had participated in an undergraduate summer research project with professor Walt Stevenson. His research on the Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great and his political and military policies in sixth-century Egypt made waves in the scholarly community.

When Kruse returned from Scotland, he talked enthusiastically about his experiences. The one thing he mentioned again and again was the camaraderie students and faculty shared over the departmental high teas, a tradition that universities in the United Kingdom have maintained for centuries. Once a week, students and professors would gather to participate in informal scholarly discussion over a cup of tea and a scone.

Kruse proposed that Richmond’s classical studies department adopt the tradition. Dr. Stevenson floated the idea around the department and another professor, Julie Laskaris, offered to help iron out the details.

This fall, the department launched Classical Teas. Students and faculty gather weekly in North Court’s Classics-Philosophy Study and Library to share tea, coffee, snacks and casual conversation. Classical studies majors and minors are encouraged to attend, but the teas are open to any students and faculty who have an interest in the past.

In between teas, Kruse is busy applying to graduate programs in late Roman history and completing an honors thesis through the Department of History. Most important, perhaps, he’s also responsible for bringing the scones.