BOSTON – Greek-American Attorney George Reveliotis from Chicago established a $1.5 million endowment fund with his own money to be used for the creation of a Department of Greek Studies at the University of Illinois.
Reveliotis is known to the Greek-American Community of Chicago and the United States through his legal career and the firm of Reveliotis Law P.C., which specializes in real estate and tax law, and from his active involvement of in the affairs of the Greek-American Community at large.
In an interview with The National Herald regarding the establishment of the endowment he explained that, “it will be for the creation of a Department of Greek Studies at University of Illinois, specifically at the Urbana-Champagne Campus.”
He emphasized that, “its purpose will be to connect students with the history, the language, and the light of the civilization that Greece has given to the World.”
Reveliotis said he will make a large personal contribution. “Initially it will be $1.5 million which I will give over a period of ten years, $150,000 per year.”
Asked why he is doing that, he replied “because I believe that it is a way to promote Hellenism through education at American universities, where Hellenism will be taught to non-Greeks. We teach our children as much as we can about Hellenism because we have an obligation to do so for the future generations in our schools, churches, and organizations, however, I believe there is a huge void at American universities. I remember that when I was a student I had taken a course about Western Civilization and there were only two paragraphs about the Byzantine Empire. It was as if didn’t exist at all despite the fact that it lasted for a thousand years.”
He also said “my wish is for my initiative to become an example for other Greek-Americans, as was the case with the Niarchos Foundation, the Tsakopoulos family, and others.”
For Reveliotis, “Hellenism is the light” and he added that, “for the Western World as we know it, the beginning and the end is Hellenism. It is the element that interconnects everything and gives meaning and substance to every word that we pronounce. We have to know Greek in order to know what we are talking about.”
Reveliotis noted that, “in 2007 a vice president at the University, Linda Katehis, who moved on to the University of California, before her departure donated about $250,000. The Greek-American Community should have contributed more funds as well, but unfortunately it didn’t. Last year I gave on my own $18,000 in order to prevent the elimination of the existing program.”
About the initiative, he said “Now we are undertaking the necessary discussions with the University for the creation of a new department. In the beginning we are going to hire an assistant professor until the program gets established and then we are going to hire a full professor.”
He speaks Greek fluently. “We always spoke Greek at home and I went to Greek school. I was born in New York. When I was in the first grade we moved to Connecticut and in fifth grade we moved to Chicago because my father was in the restaurant business.”
Reveliotis’ parents immigrated to the United States from Tripolis in Arcadia, Greece that he loves dearly and visits often. He said, “last year I visited Tripolis twice. We have also bought a house to plant roots there for the next generation.” He is married to Demetra and they have four children ages 5 to 11, Nicholas, Konstantinos, Alexander, and Elena.
Attorney Reveliotis and his parents are long time subscribers to The National Herald.