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August 29, 2005

UCSD On Track To Become 1st U.S. University With
Endowed Faculty Chairs In All Three Major Eras Of Greek History

Over $1 Million From San Diego’s Greek Community To Endow Chairs In Ancient Greek History, Byzantine Greek History; Funding Nearly Complete For Modern Greek History Chair

By Judy Piercey

The University of California, San Diego is poised to become a world-class leader in Greek studies, thanks to the generosity of the local Greek community.

The campus recently created the Gerry and Jeannie Ranglas Chair in Ancient Greek History and the Alkiviadis Vassiliadis Chair in Byzantine Greek History with donations totaling more than $1 million. Gerry and Jeannie Ranglas and Carol Vassiliadis each presented leadership gifts for the two UCSD endowed faculty chairs, while contributions from members of San Diego’s Greek community and cultural organizations provided the remainder of the funding.

With funding nearly complete, UCSD also expects to establish an endowed chair in Modern Greek History. When the $500,000 goal for the chair is met, UCSD will become the only university in the U.S. to have endowed faculty chairs for all three major eras of Greek history. Money raised for the UCSD Greek History chairs contribute to UCSD’s $1 billion fund-raising initiative, The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What’s Next.

The key driver behind the establishment of the three endowed Greek history chairs is Georgios Anagnostopoulos, interim dean of UCSD’s Division of Arts and Humanities.

“Knowledge of any part of history is important,” said Dean Anagnostopoulos, “but that of Greek history has very valuable lessons for us all. The recognition of this has led many to claim that the Greek experience is the world experience.”

“Referring to the leader of the Spartans in the Battle of Thermopylae (480BC) and its enormous consequences for the course of Western society and its democratic institutions, the well-known British author William Golding remarked that ‘A little of Leonidas lies in the fact that I can go where I like and write what I like. He contributed to set us free.’ Today, there is a revival of interest in Greek history because of the timeless nature of what it teaches us.”

“Many universities own a chair somewhere in the field of Greek history,” said Daniel Vickers, chair of the UCSD History Department, “but, nowhere in America will there be a concentration of eminent historians in one department to match ours.”

Dean Anagnostopoulos added, “The active and very generous Greek community in San Diego is providing UCSD powerful tools to attract and retain distinguished faculty in Greek History. We are most grateful to them for their support.”

UCSD’s new endowed chairs will cover:

  • Ancient Greek history from circa 800 BC, to the death of Alexander the Great, circa 300 BC;
  • More than 1,000 years of the history of the Byzantine Empire, from circa 324 AD to 1453 AD; and
  • The last 200 years of Greek history, from circa 1800 AD to the present. This period is one of the richest, most tumultuous and, at times, most tragic periods of Greek history.

At the University of California, endowed chairs are teaching/research positions occupied by distinguished scholars. The university provides the teaching/research position and pays the salary of the person appointed to the endowed chairs. The permanent endowed fund created by philanthropic gifts provides perpetual annual income in support of the teaching and research activities of the person holding the chair.

Individuals interested in helping to fund the UCSD endowed faculty chair in Modern Greek History are invited to call UCSD’s Arts and Humanities division development office at (858) 822-6618.


Media Contacts:
Judy Piercey
, (858) 534-6128
Shannon Casey
, (858) 822-2485

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