Graduates pay tribute to the American College of Greece

Founders’ Day at the American College of Greece was celebrated at the school campus in Aghia Paraskevi by president of Pierce and Deree colleges Dr John Bailey, college staff, the president of the graduates’ association Mina Katsareli and distinguished graduates with their children and grandchildren. The idea came from businesswoman Lisel Stylianidou-Papathanasiou, who spoke of the school’s history from its beginnings in Smyrna in 1875, with pupils from the Greek, Armenian and Jewish communities, and its removal to Greece after the 1922 catastrophe. In Athens it was established on two luxury estates in Palaio Faliron, with the same pupils who were now refugees, and then moved to Hellenikon. After war broke out it was moved to Mavromihali Street in central Athens, returning to the Hellenikon campus after liberation. The new era began later at the Aghia Paraskevi campus. The college’s theater was the scene of speeches by Christina Sifneou-Dodson, who was a senior official at the UN for some years and director of Zbigniew Brzezinski’s office at the White House when he headed President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council. Christina returned to Greece where she now lives with her family. She loves Athens but has fond memories of her career at the UN, which began following a Fulbright Scholarship she won after graduating from Pierce. Then it was Helbi’s turn to speak about how she missed out on a scholarship during the interview because of her sharp tongue! Then she spoke about how she became a journalist and got her revenge by getting an interview with the late Fulbright himself, when he came to Athens to receive a prize from the Onassis Foundation. «To be able to think and speak in both Greek and English is something the college has given us,» she said and promised the packed auditorium that she would print a photograph of the celebration in both the Greek and English editions of Kathimerini. So here she is keeping her promise. «Hail alma mater, loved by thy daughters, golden the hours we spend at thy knee,» says the college anthem.