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Department of Classics
The University of Mississippi

Dr. Diane Fortenberry – Alumna Spotlight

Diane Fortenberry HeadshotFreelance Writer, Editor, Speaker 

BA Classical Civilizations (1979)
Professional Website


Dr. Fortenberry has been working in the publishing world in London, England. Her positions have included Managing Editor for the Dictionary of Art at Macmillan Publishers; Founding Partner with Academy Projects, a consulting firm offering specialist archaeological, architectural and publishing services; and Project Manager and Senior Editor with Phaidon Press, specializing in fine art, ancient and non-Western art and archaeology.  Dr. Fortenberry is now a freelance writer, editor, and speaker specializing in the visual arts, art history, and archaeology.  She is also an o


Why did you choose your major?
I wanted to become an archaeologist of Greek and Roman sites, and I did so, even while pursuing a publishing career.

What were some significant experiences or fond memories of UM?
I had the good luck to have been taught by Lucy Turnbull and Ted Capps, both inspiring scholars (in very different ways) and supportive mentors.

Tell us about your educational/career path since UM.
I was a student at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens with Aileen Ajootian. I gained a PhD in Aegean Bronze Age Archaeology from the best school in the country for that speciality, the University of Cincinnati. In the end, though, I decided I wanted a career outside of academia, and ended up in publishing, which turned out to be the perfect career for me.  

My current big project is a book commissioned in collaboration with an iconic American photographer about Central Asia. In addition, I am lecturing on archaeological topics for cruise lines, editing books for British and European publishers, and contributing book reviews and articles to various publications.

What is the value of classics in today’s world?   
A classics major can go on to do pretty much anything, from medicine to music, literature to technology, politics to journalism. The language skills you’ll take away and the historical understanding you will gain are of immense value in a vast number of careers — or you might decide to teach the next generation.