NEW YORK – The American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) hosted their Annual Dinner Gala at Capitale in New York City on May 9. Each year the event gathers over 350 prominent philanthropists, philhellenes and scholars, to celebrate the extraordinary 137-year history of the American School. Founded in 1881, the School provides students and scholars from a consortium of over 190 affiliated North American colleges and universities with the opportunity to explore the full range of scholarly resources in Greece.
The evening began with a cocktail hour followed by dinner and live Greek music performed by the talented musicians Gregory Maninakis on vocals, Kostas Psarros on bouzouki, Glafkos Kontemeniotis on keyboards, and Megan Gould on violin. Their wonderful performance of classic songs was one of the highlights of the evening and gave an added layer to the Greek character of the event.
Another highlight was the awards presentation. The Gennadius Prize was presented to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) for outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge of post-antique Greece. “It is an honor to recognize the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and to celebrate, not only their excellence in civic engagement and responsible citizenship, but their commitment in supporting and driving the study and understanding of post antique Hellenism,” said Andreas Zombanakis, Chairman of the Gennadius Library’s Overseers. “We hope that by showcasing their exceptional leadership and vision, we can help inspire the next generation of post antique Greek scholars and Philhellenes.”
SNF Chief Operating Officer Vasili Tsamis accepted the award on behalf of the Foundation. He thanked ASCSA for the honor and for their close to 140 years of excellent efforts to connect, engage, and educate everyone about the glory of Greece.
The Athens Prize was presented to Professor Ronald S. Stroud (University of California, Berkeley) for outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge of ancient Greece. Prof. Stroud could not attend the event but the award was accepted on his behalf by his wife Connie, whom he met while they were at ACSCA in Corinth and then they married in Athens in 1963. In his acceptance speech, via video, he noted the golden years, in Greek as well “ta chrysa chronia,” 1996-99, when he was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Classical Studies at ASCSA. William T. Loomis, President of the Board of Trustees, “Ron Stroud has been one of the most productive and influential Classical scholars of the past half century. In addition, he has been a mentor, supporter, and inspiration—but also an unsparing critic!—for dozens of students and younger scholars from all over the world. His impact on the field has been immense.”
Videos showcasing the School and the evening’s honorees were also screened as an additional highlight of the event.
A solemn moment was taken to acknowledge the passing of philanthropist Irene Moscahlaidis who was a benefactor of the Gennadius Library and whose daughter, Evee Moscahlaidis Georgiadis, was present at the event. Gennadius Library Director Maria Georgopoulou noted that the first exhibition catalog from the new Ioannis Makriyannis Wing will be published in honor of the late Mrs. Moscahlaidis. The inauguration of the Ioannis Makriyannis Wing is set for June 2, 2018.
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is the leading American teaching and research institution in Greece, dedicated to the advanced study of all aspects of Greek culture, from antiquity to the present. The School remains, as its founders envisioned, a privately-funded, nonprofit educational and cultural institution.
Among those present were Fr. Alexander Karloutsos who gave the opening prayer at the event, the Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations Ambassador Maria Theofili, Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Consul General of Cyprus Ambassador Vasilios Philippou, Ambassador Andrew Jacovides and his wife Pamela, Alexander E. Zagoreos- ASCSA Chairman of the Board of Trustees, businessman John Catsimatidis and his wife Margo, and the famous singer Maria Farantouri who will be performing in her concert tribute to Mikis Theodorakis on Saturday, May 12 at Carnegie Hall.