GALLOWAY, NJ— With a gift of $100,000 to the Stockton University Foundation, Greek-American businessman George C. Georges established the Constantine George Georges and Sophia C. Georges Endowed Professorship of Greek Art and Architecture in honor of his late parents. The Atlantic City businessman said, ““I wanted to support the teaching and learning of Greek art, architecture and archaeology at Stockton and to memorialize my parents for their lives of industry and charity toward others.” Georges went on to say, “The Hellenic Studies program presents a unique educational choice of courses and research for Stockton students, which is usually only available at larger universities.”
Also acknowledged in the gift were two men who inspired Georges, the Rev. Demetrios J. Constantelos, retired priest and professor, for his pioneering work in Hellenic Studies at Stockton, and Dean C. Pappas, the late university trustee, for his generous nature and honorable life.
Stockton University President Harvey Kesselman said, “Mr. Georges’ generosity and vision ensure that more students will have the opportunity to be immersed in Greek art and architecture, which are keystones of Western civilization. This gift supports Stockton’s educational values, focusing on the importance of global perspectives and cultural traditions in preparing students to collaborate across a diverse world.”
The Georges’ gift adds to the university’s remarkable resources, including the Dean C. and Zoe S. Pappas Center for Hellenic Studies, and the Constantelos Hellenic Collection and Reading Room, a storehouse for the New Jersey Greek-American Oral History Project.
An expert in Byzantine history, Constantelos donated his collection of 3,000 rare and important works to Stockton. Georges noted that Constantelos’ initiatives were key in creating an academic center for Hellenic Studies at Stockton. Pappas and his wife, Zoe, committed $250,000 in 2015 to establish a Greek Art and Architecture Fund providing students with new learning experiences, and donated $150,000 in 2012 to endow the work of what was at the time called the Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies. It was renamed for the Pappases in 2015 in honor of their generosity and commitment to scholarship. The Pappases also donated $1 million to establish a Visiting Scholar Endowment Fund.
The Constantine George Georges and Sophia C. Georges Endowed Professorship will be a permanent part of the Pappas Center within the School of Arts and Humanities. As specified in the agreement, the holder of the professorship must demonstrate expertise in Greek art, architecture, and archaeology, and be actively involved with a current, active archaeological project in Greece or Cyprus.
Signed at a Board of Trustees meeting at the university by Foundation Chair Richard Dovey, President Kesselman, and George Georges, the agreement states that additional contributions may be made at any time by the donor and others, and will be accepted by the foundation.
Tom Papademetriou, associate professor of History and director of the Pappas Center for Hellenic Studies, said, “I am so pleased that George Georges has decided to honor his parents with this gift. His parents and family have been such an important part of the Atlantic City Greek community, with his father sponsoring dozens of other families from Greece to a better life in America. It is fitting that George is honoring them in this way. Greek art and architecture plays such a major role in understanding not only the Hellenic past but the human past.”
He continued, “With the help of this endowment, our professor of Greek Art and Archaeology, Dr. Amy Papalexandrou, a graduate of Princeton University, will be able to conduct her scholarly research as well as expose Stockton students to important archaeological sites, and great monuments.”
Papademetriou observed, “We are lucky because Dr. Papalexandrou is one of the leaders of the Polis excavation in Cyprus. She just concluded research there with three Stockton students whose lives have been transformed by the experience. This fund will enhance these types of research opportunities.”