Princeton University has inaugurated the Athens Center for Research and Hellenic Studies in Athens, a project three years in the making.
“An academic home in Greece embodies some of the key goals of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund, established in 1979,” said Dimitri Gondicas, founding director of the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies. “Creating the Princeton Athens Center was consistent with the vision of our benefactor, Stanley J. Seeger ’52, whose legendary generosity made it possible for Princeton to be a world leader in Hellenic studies,” he added.
The Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies supports more than 100 Princetonians for study and research in Greece, said Gondicas.
After welcoming attendees with a warm Greek “Kalos orisate!” Gondicas said that, “Princeton has enjoyed strong, enduring links with the Hellenic world, and it has been an international leader in the study of Greek culture. As scholars, educators, philanthropists, public servants, business people, art collectors and writers, Princetonians have contributed immensely to the cultural and international relations between Greece and the United States.”
Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and greeted the guests including faculty, students, friends and alumni.
“This is the first time Princeton University has opened a research and scholarship center anywhere outside of the United States,” said Eisgruber, Class of 1983. Eisgruber said that one of the reasons the University chose to establish the center in Athens “as we become a more international university” is Princeton’s “extraordinary humanistic tradition that finds its home here in Athens and in Greece.”
The purpose of the center is to “build upon the study of ancient and modern Greece and to do so in a way that understands the broad influence of Greece in the world. As we seek to make this enterprise succeed … we will depend on our connections here in Greece to make this a thriving hub of activity.”
The center is located in a 1930s-era townhouse in central Athens, renovated by Nasos Antachopoulos and Yannis Younis of Athens-based A6Architects. The house features conference facilities, a seminar room, offices, study spaces, informal common areas and a terrace with a view of the Parthenon. It is situated close to Aristotle’s Lyceum in a historic neighborhood, close to libraries, museums and archaeological sites.
In the ceremony, Greek native Nikos Michailidis, a 2016 graduate alumni in anthropology and Hellenic studies, sang a Greek folk song that he composed for this occasion, accompanied by the pontic lyra.