Washington, DC—Georgetown University recently received $1.2 million from prominent Californians Markos Kounalakis and Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis to help establish the university’s first chair in Hellenic studies.
The gift supplements a pledge of 500,000 Euros (about $600,000) that the university received from Greece’s Ministry of Culture this year and contributions from private donors totaling $450,000. By creating the new professorship, which will be housed in Georgetown College, Georgetown takes an important first step toward building the study of contemporary Greek culture into its curriculum.
“Greece plays an important contemporary role in both international affairs and in world culture,” said Jane McAuliffe, Dean of the Undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences. “We are thankful to Markos and Eleni for making it possible for Georgetown to support a serious scholar whose teaching and research will emphasize both Greece’s importance as a cornerstone of civilization and its contemporary vitality.”
The endowed position will support an assistant professor who will develop courses in Hellenic studies, with an emphasis on contemporary Greece. The scholar may work in one of the following disciplines: cultural studies, international affairs, political and philosophical thought, history or economics. The expanded focus on contemporary Greece will complement Georgetown’s strong Department of Classics, with its courses in Classical languages and Classical studies. The university also offers a minor in Modern Greek.
Markos Kounalakis is president and publisher of the Washington Monthly and executive vice president of AKT Development Corporation, a land development company in Sacramento California. He is Chairman of the Board of Internews Network, Vice Chairman of the California State World Trade Commission and on the Board of Directors of the Western Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis is president of AKT Development Corporation. She served two terms on the California State World Trade Commission and continues to serve on the board of directors of the World Council for Religion and Peace.
“We are pleased and honored to work closely with Georgetown University to develop this chair in Washington, D.C.,” stated Mr. Kounalakis.
“This chair will advance high-level study of Hellenism and its many critical and influential constructs, through the classical era, Byzantium, and Ottomanism to the Eurozone of the twenty-first century,” said Mrs. Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis.
The couple’s gift was one of the critical final gifts that put Georgetown over its historic $1 billion campaign goal, which concluded November 30.