FLORENCE, SC – Professor Andrew Kampiziones was honored on February 7 as the first ever Emeritus faculty member of Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) where he teaches Philosophy and Ethics. The FDTC Awards were held at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology. Prof. Kampiziones spoke with The National Herald about the honor.
He told TNH, “Generally speaking the title ‘emeritus professor’ is given to a faculty member who has excelled in all fields of Academia and, particularly in his subject matter of teaching – Philosophy and Ethics, in my case.
“This person, selected by the Faculty Senate and approved by the Executive Committee of the College/University is considered as an authority in his particular subject of teaching, as well as, a role model for all his colleagues.
“Role models luckily were my teachers at the High School of Lamia, Greece, as well as its Paidagogical Academy – role models of character and methods of teaching that I am trying to emulate and pass them on to my students.
“A teacher obviously is not to simply impart knowledge- the students can find it in books and dictionaries.
“A teacher’s mission, I would say, is to INSPIRE the students by being a role model of inquiry and learning, conscientiousness, responsibility, dignity, care and responsiveness.
“Additionally and particularly, a Philosophy teacher must teach his students how to think critically and analytically about questions that matter!
“My parents, my teachers in the motherland, Lamia, Greece, my caring neighborhood and community of that time, my native country’s rich heritage and civilization inspired me to consider it a duty to pass it on to my students and – by example – even to my colleagues in College, a fact that obviously was officially recognized – an honor belonging to my native country and countrymen rather than to me.”
Kampiziones immigrated to the United States with his wife Eula (nee Hondros) in 1956 and since then, they have lived the American dream.
“A cousin of my wife had met me and my family in Lamia,” Kampiziones said, SC Now Morning News reported. “I was a young man, was first in my class. He was impressed, and when he came to America, he told my wife’s parents that there was a prince back home (in Greece) and they believed him. They had not been back to Lamia for a while, so they went to Greece to visit and to meet the ‘prince.’”
The couple fell in love and married in Greece before moving to the U.S. “It did not take them long to convince me to come, because I knew a lot about America,” Kampiziones said, SC Now reported. “I had read the history. I loved Jefferson and Lincoln. So I came to America, and we lived in Florence, South Carolina. Then we went to New York, and I was going to Queens College for an economics degree to make a living in banking.”
They returned to Florence, SC to take care of their aging parents, but a horrific incident in Manhattan also contributed to the move.
“Not knowing Manhattan very well, one time I was going to the public library and I went through Bryant Park,” Kampiziones said, SC Now reported. “I was stabbed by two drug addicts. It was a miracle that I survived, because the people in the library were saying, ‘Don’t touch him.’ If it had not been for a man coming from the opposite direction, I would have died.”
Back in Florence, Kampiziones and his brother-in-law ran the Flamingo Restaurant, but his wife urged him to get back to teaching, the career path he had started on in Greece, SC Now reported.
“I went to Francis Marion and asked if they would let me teach,” Kampiziones said, SC Now reported. “I went to USC and got a degree in philosophy and started teaching philosophy at Francis Marion University for a number of years.”
He taught for many years at FMU, at Coker College, and at Florence-Darlington Technical College where he continues to teach.
Recognized for his service and contributions to the community over the years, Kampiziones is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. He was honored with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for humanitarian preservation of diverse ethnic heritage in 2002 and his service in the Greek Army is commemorated on the Wall of Honor at the Florence Veterans Park, SC Now reported, adding that he also received the Order of the Palmetto from the State of South Carolina and the Jack Baker Award from the arts community in Florence.
Kampiziones also served on the Florence Museum Board, the McLeod Regional Medical Center Foundation Board, the Florence Heritage Foundation Board, was a charter member of the Committee for Housing for the Mentally Ill, and was chairman of the Historical Commission, and the Florence Symphony Board, SC Now reported.
Noting his pride in his Greek heritage, Kampiziones also helped start both the Greek Festival in Florence and FMU’s International Day (now Arts International) which celebrates diverse cultures, SC Now reported.