Lawrenceville welcomed Alexander Kocar this year as a new member of the history department. Kocar currently teaches Bioethics and Humanities - Cultural Studies, and he taught the elective Plato’s Republic in the fall, which will be renamed to Ancient Greco-Roman Philosophy next year.
Growing up in Wisconsin, Kocar considered himself a ‘STEM kid’ and took many Advanced Placement (AP) science courses, so he never expected to study history or the liberal arts. After earning enough credits through AP exams to not take any science courses in his first few years of college, Kocar decided to become a “pre-med math major.” However, he fell in love with history after he began taking courses in Ancient Greek and Religion
Once he finally discovered his passion for ancient history, Kocar went on to gain fluency in an impressive amount of languages, including Ancient Greek, Latin, Coptic, Hebrew, Syriac, and to a lesser extent, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Kocar’s polyglot ability came in handy when he once attempted to snake into two archives that contained Ancient Egyptian texts that had never before been exposed to the world, once at Oxford University and another time at the Vatican Library. Kocar talked his way into libraries past armed guards to gain entrance into the libraries, where he used his extensive knowledge of languages to understand the unpublished texts. His advice to anyone who wants to sneak into archives would be to “smile and talk your way past people.”
Aside from teaching history and sneaking into libraries, Kocar enjoys “long walks…writing, reading,” and taekwondo, in which he has a second degree black belt. He is also looking forward to summer break, as there are “a lot of projects” he would like to work on.
Drawing from his experience in the past, Kocar advises students to “not be afraid of making mistakes or…of [becoming] the person you want to be” and to try as many new things as possible. Overall, his favorite part of being at Lawrenceville has been the new classes that he’s been able to teach, the new topics he can explore, and “how passionate all the students are about learning.”