NEW YORK – The American College of Greece (ACG) presented “Growing Greece,” an engaging presentation and discussion with Dr. David G.Horner- ACG President, and John Chachas and John Pyrovolakis- Trustees of the College. EMBCA’s President Louis Katsos and Antony Contomichalos- founder and President of MacArthur Capital Group and ACG graduate, hosted the event on October 9 at the 3 West Club in Midtown Manhattan.
The presentation focused on ACG’s plan for the next 10 years, ACG 150, as the oldest American-accredited college in Europe and the largest private college in Greece approaches its 150th year, and how the plan will materially impact the Greek economy.
Developed in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, the plan triangulates Greece’s greatest economic opportunities with the school’s greatest strengths resulting in the convergence of academia and private industry – which has been sorely missing in Greece. Ultimately, ACG 150 will help Greece by producing graduates with the skills employers desperately seek today, while developing the technology and innovation needed for long-term sustainable economic change.
ACG has three divisions: Pierce, a well-regarded private high school; Deree, a four-year U.S. accredited college with graduate and undergraduate degree programs; and Alba, an innovative MBA program. The Institute of Public Health is also a critical player in reducing tobacco usage in Greece through the support of the Behrakis Foundation. Bringing down tobacco consumption in Greece by 29 percent saves Greece nearly 1.2 billion Euro a year in healthcare costs. All four institutions are U.S. 501c3 non-profits.
Contomichalos gave the welcoming remarks and introduced Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras who noted that ACG “is a diamond in Greece.” He pointed out the quality of the students and professors, adding that most of the graduates after a short time find jobs.
A video offered a brief introduction to the ACG 150 plan:
Dr. Horner then offered some background history, noting the roots of ACG in Smyrna from 1875-1922 when the school was destroyed in the Catastrophe. In 1923, Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos invited the College to reopen in Athens. It did so that same year and survived through the World War II Nazi occupation of the country and continues to thrive today. In the 1970s the undergraduate division of ACG was renamed Deree College, in honor of William Deree, a wealthy Greek American philanthropist from Chicago.
The plan focuses on three sectors of strategic opportunity for the Greek economy: Tourism and Leisure; Logistics, Shipping and Transportation; and Technology and Digital Transfer, expanding education and opportunities in Greece.
Dr. Horner spoke with The National Herald at the event, noting that the plan is not only the school’s plan for the next ten years, it is also “a plan for the economic revitalization of the country, which sounds like an audacious goal and it is, but we are really building on tried and true American linkages between universities and economic development and then transferring those models to Greece, and we’re not only transferring the models, we’re going to transfer the output of American research universities to Greece. “This is a plan we’ve been working on with our board for a couple of years and we have experts on our board both here and internationally, including Greek-Americans John Chachas and John Pyrovolakis, they bring enormous personal commitment to the endeavor. We launched this plan last year, quietly and now we’re beginning to take it more public,” he told TNH.
Dr. Horner continued, “Two of my graduate degrees are from Stanford, and Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley have been very much at the heart of what’s happened in Silicon Valley, my wife is a graduate of Harvard and Harvard and MIT have been at the heart of what’s happening in the 128 Corridor [Boston’s technology corridor], neither of us graduated from Duke or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but if you go to that region of the country, you have the Durham research triangle which has produced a lot from the universities or what people refer to as the Pittsburgh Renaissance bringing back a rust belt city around high tech that’s built off Carnegie-Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. So America’s research universities are really driving the economic development not only of the country, but of the world, Greece doesn’t have those universities, but through some of the efforts discussed tonight, we will be able to tap into the research output of the top 170 research universities in the United States and bring some of what they’re developing that’s driving this economy to Greece. We’ve got other aspects of our plan besides that but that power source is more than sufficient to lift an economy. Using the college as a kind of bridge between the U.S. and Greece. Our ambitions are very high. We’re aiming to increase the Greek national economy through our initiatives by $33 billion and an increase of over 400,000 jobs, according to the estimate of McKinsey & Company, which is probably the best global consulting firm.”
Among those present were Consul of Greece in New York Spyridoula-Ioanna Zochiou, Christina Mahjouri, Olga Bornozi, Argyris Argitakos, Aristides Logothetis, Irene Sarri, Marina Belessis Casoria, Lydia Venieri, many ACG alumni, and members of the community interested in the plan to help Greece through education and innovation.
More information about The American College of Greece is available online: acg.edu.