New York.- By Vicki James Yiannias
Photos: Julie Skarratt
The feeling of being in Greece at the 2019 Gala Dinner Celebrating the Corinth Excavations and Remembering Pioneering Archaeologist Hetty Goldman at the grand-scale venue Capitale on May 9
was exhilarating, with a bonus of hearing and being spoken to in Greek by so many individuals not of Greek descent who have mastered the Greek language.
Presented by the Board of Trustees of the American School of Classical Studies and the Board of Overseers of the Gennadius Library, the annual Gala (this was the 4th Gala), the premier event of the School is a gathering of more than 350 of the Hellenic world’s most influential leaders and scholars, prominent philanthropists and guests celebrating Greece’s rich heritage with support of the vital mission of the School, provides an important source of funding for the School and its acclaimed research, archaeological excavation, and educational programs. The School remains as its founders envisioned,
a privately funded, nonprofit educational and cultural institution.
Two affecting videos were shown at the Gala, Hetty Goldman: First Among Equals and Twelve Decades of Discovery, about the Corinth excavation; two awards were presented, the Gennadius Prize and the Athens Prize; and an In-Memoriam remembrance, with a projected photo portrait of the late philanthropist Irene Moscahlaidi for her generosity to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
Over cocktails guests browsed the display of jewelry, fashion, and home decor of the Silent Auction, which included restaurants and travel/resorts/yacht charters. With Grigoris Maninakis and the Microcosmos Ensemble performing Greek music that spanned genres and eras, you really were in Greece.
George T. Orfanakos, Executive Director, Master of Ceremonies, introduced the evening; and Alexander E. Zagoreos, Chairman, Board of Trustees, who gave the Welcome, thanking the staff of the Gala and thanking the philanthropists responsible for making the School possible. Honorary Chairs of the Gala were Nicholas Burns, former United States Ambassador to Greece and His Excellency Haris Lalacos, Ambassador of Greece to the United States.
Professor Jennifer Neils, Director of the American School of Classical Studies inroduced the premier of the video Hetty Goldman: First Among Equals. The grandniece of Hetty Goldman, Megan Goldman-Petri, also an archaeologist, praised her aunt for her daring and dedication, as did William Loomis President, Board of Trustees.
Hetty Goldman (1881-1972) challenged the male archaeological establishment and helped open the door to archaeology for American women. In 1910, she was the first woman to hold the Charles Eliot Norton Fellowship at the American School of Classical Studies, and in 1911 she and Alice Leslie Walker were the first female archaeologists to direct excavations on the Greek mainland (at Halae). She mentored numerous women who went on to become leading archaeologists. Goldman was the first woman to hold a professorship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the first woman to receive the Gold medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement from the Archaeological Institute of America.
The Athens Prize, awarded to Professor Ronald S. Stroud of the University of California, Berkeley for outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge of Ancient Greece, was accepted on his behalf by his wife, Connie, whom he met while they were excavating in Corinth. In his acceptance speech, on video, he referred to “τά χρυσά χρόνια,” 1996-99, when he was Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Classical Studies at the American School of Classical Studies. Praising Stroud, William T. Loomis, President of the Board of Trustees, said, “Ron Stroud has been one of the most productive and influential Classical scholars of the past half century. In addition, he has been a mentor, supporter and inspiration… but also an unsparing critic for dozens of students and younger scholars from all over the world. His impact on the field has been immense.”
The Gennadius Prize, presented to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge of Post-Antique Greece was accepted by Vasili Tsamis of the Niarchos Foundation on behalf of the Foundation. Andreas Zombanakis, Chairman of the Gennadius Library Board of Overseers said, “It is an honor to recognize the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and to celebrate not only their excellence in civic engagement and responsible citizenship, but their commitment to supporting and driving the study and understanding of Post Antique Hellenism. We hope that by showcasing their exceptional leadership and vision, we can help inspire the next generation of Post Antique Greek scholars and philhellenes.”
Founded in 1881, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens provides students and scholars
from a consortium of over 190 affiliated North American colleges and universities with the opportunity to explore the full range of scholarly resources in Greece. Its stated mission is “to advance knowledge of Greece of all periods by training young scholars, sponsoring and promoting archaeological fieldwork, providing resources for scholarly work, and disseminating research.”
Opened in 1926, the Gennadius Library, an internationally renowned library and research institution is also an active participant in the Athenian and international cultural community through its public lectures, seminars, concerts, exhibitions and publications.