Endowments provide a stream of income in perpetuity and are the most important source of outside support for Modern Greek because they guarantee the future of the Program. They are invested in the University's long-term portfolio and provide quarterly distributions. Faculty positions, student scholarships, and annual events are a few examples of important objectives that benefit greatly from the guaranteed income. Endowments may be named to honor a donor, a donor's family, a major figure or anyone whom the donor wishes to recognize.
C. P. Cavafy Professorship
The C. P. Cavafy Professorship in Modern Greek was endowed by the Foundation of Modern Greek Studies through a gift agreement it signed with the University of Michigan in 1999.
The Foundation for Modern Greek Studies was incorporated in 1997 under the Michigan Non-Profit Corporation Act as a non-stock directorship corporation. Its mission is to promote the study of modern Greek language and culture by supporting educational institutions as well as other efforts serving these fields.
Following the gift agreement signed in 1999, the Foundation donated $750,000 in three annual installments to the Modern Greek Studies Endowed Professorship Fund in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. This gift supplemented the considerable resources that Michigan had already put in place toward such a position. The Foundation completed its mission through grass-roots efforts reaching hundreds of donors. The endowed chair was officially inaugurated in Fall 2001 and given the name of C. P. Cavafy, the greatest Greek poet since antiquity.
With the first campaign completed on schedule, in Summer 2002 the Foundation signed a second landmark agreement with the University, establishing the Modern Greek Program Support Fund. Annual gifts to the Fund are used for two important purposes: to provide undergraduate and graduate scholarships to students pursuing Modern Greek, and to provide funding for a wide variety of Modern Greek cultural events. The Foundation has worked closely with faculty Vassilis Lambropoulos, Artemis Leontis, and Despina Margomenou and the University to develop a unique program of academic and cultural events (all of them free and open to the public) that lasts almost nine months each year.
To those who seek a rich Greek presence within American campuses, the story of the fruitful collaboration between the Foundation, the Greek American communities of southeastern Michigan, and the University of Michigan is a model of success.
Vakalo Family Fund in Modern Greek Studies
The Vakalo name is known throughout Greece for the wide range of contributions by George and Eleni Vakalo to poetry, the visual arts, criticism, education and cultural activism. Their son Dr. George-Emmanuel Vakalo, brought this legacy to the University of Michigan as a professor in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and is remembered as an inspiring educator. Kathleen L. Vakalo, Dr. Vakalo’s wife, wishes to honor her family’s contributions to Greek culture, language and history by establishing an endowed fund that supports emerging scholars, poets, writers, translators, musicians, and visual and performance artists.
The effort to support emerging young scholars and artists, bringing contemporary Greece to an international audience, above and beyond the achievements of the country’s ancient past, perhaps best characterizes the educational and cultural legacy of the Vakalo family. Kathleen Vakalo's gift establishes the endowed Vakalo Family Fund for Visiting Scholars and Artists. It will be used to provide support for visiting residencies by emerging scholars and artists, including poets, writers, translators, musicians, and visual and performance artists, to the Modern Greek Program for varying periods, depending on funding requirements and the scope of their projects.
The Calliopi Papala Politou Student Fund
The Calliopi Papala Politou Fund honors the mother of Angeliki Evangelinos, Professor Emerita of Monroe Community College and a longtime supporter of the Modern Greek Program. The fund will be used for an annual prize in the Modern Greek Program to be awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student who excels in Modern Greek studies, with a preference for a graduating senior majoring or minoring in Modern Greek studies, or a graduate student in Modern Greek studies, and for other purposes as determined by the Director of the Modern Greek Program. Such uses may include, but are not limited to: a speaker series, exhibition, concert or other public engagement, or acquisition of books and/or publications for the Hatcher Library.
AHEPA Automotive District 10 Fund
The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) was founded in the United States of America in 1922 to fight against discrimination, bigotry, hatred and to promote the ancient Hellenic ideals of education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, family and individual excellence through community service and volunteerism. AHEPA Automotive District 10 finds inspiration in the organization's roots and great legacy during the last 100 years. To proliferate this great legacy, they offer this gift to the University for the benefit of students of Modern Greek language, history, and culture, so they may read, write, study, travel, and learn to be citizens of the world.
The AHEPA Automotive District 10 Fund will be used by the Department of Classical Studies for the direct and explicit benefit of students to promote the cultural and educational development of the students of Modern Greek language, history, and culture through activities including, but not limited to: study, travel, research, internships, reading and translation, as determined by the faculty in the Modern Greek Program.
The Kalliopi Kontou-Filis and Kenneth P. Mathews Fund
Supports student study opportunities in Greece and Cyprus.
During the run on Greek banks on Friday, June 15 – the eve of national elections, when depositors acted in a panic over fears that Sunday’s results would lead to Greece’s exit from the Eurozone – U-M Medical School alumna, Kalliopi Kontou-Filis ’69, battled frantic crowds in her effort to send funds to U-M. Neither grudging bank personnel nor the bank’s closing at 3pm could deter her.
Kontou-Filis was determined to send euros that very day to establish an endowment in honor of her mentor, U-M Professor of Internal Medicine Kenneth P. Mathews. But she did not intend her gift for the Medical School. She wanted to send the money to the Modern Greek Program.
The story began a few weeks earlier, when Kontou-Filis, M.D., Ph.D., eminent allergy specialist and the president of the Hellenic Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, looked around at the worn faces of her fellow citizens and decided she had to do something for Hellenism. For years she had been attending to immunological systems gone awry. She was accustomed to offering Greek patients her expertise to treat complex physical reactions. Now she wanted to do something to benefit their crushed spirits.
Kontou-Filis felt indebted to U-M for her education in medicine. In particular, her training as Fellow in Allergy Studies under Dr. Mathews, Professor of Internal Medicine and Division Chief of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, had prepared her for a successful career. Could she find a way to support her country at a critical time of need and to give back to the University that trained her?
Through an internet search, Kontou-Filis discovered the U-M Modern Greek Program. That was when she sent an inquiry to Professor Vassilis Lambropoulos, asking if she might make a one-time gift. Imagine his surprise when he received this unexpected message: “The University of Michigan gave me my education in Medicine, and I want to give something back, to U-M’s Modern Greek Program”! Imagine her surprise when she received his immediate response, “With the amount of money you wish to donate, you can endow a gift to benefit U-M
students – and Greek studies – in perpetuity”!
And so the scene unfolded as Dr. Kontou-Filis felt the uncertainty of Greece’s economic future pressing upon her. Once an agreement was reached and papers outlining the terms of agreement for her new endowment fund were drawn up, she ran to the bank. That was at noon on Friday, June 15. She waited patiently in the long lines of anxious depositors wishing to withdraw money. At the end of a crazy day, tellers puzzled over her intentions, running back and forth to consult one another. “I told them, ‘Once you conclude my transaction, THEN I’ll start worrying about the Greek economy.’” Finally they informed her they had completed the transaction. “After three hours and 45 minutes … all was completed while we are still in the Euro Zone,” she wrote in an email after she returned home.
On Monday, June 18, U-M recorded the establishment of the new Kalliopi Kontou-Filis and Kenneth P. Mathews Endowment Fund, honoring the memory of Kenneth P. Mathews, Professor of Medicine, U-M, and the donor’s mentor, to support student opportunities for study in Greece and Cyprus. The Endowment will inspire more students to enhance their studies with trips to these two countries, enabling them to take more time for Greek language acquisition in an immersion setting, broaden their experiential learning, and to be more adventurous in their efforts to conduct research. It will greatly enrich the culture of learning in the Modern Greek Program.
The Vassilis Lambropoulos Essays on New Directions in Modern Greek Studies
The annual Vassilis Lambropoulos Essays on New Directions in Modern Greek Studies aim to provide new perspectives into the state of the field and the most promising innovations and opportunities it offers. The endowed series honors Vassilis Lambropoulos, the first C.P. Cavafy Professor of Modern Greek and Comparative Literature, who directed the Modern Greek Program at the University of Michigan from 1999 to 2018. Thus it joins the past and future of Modern Greek Studies.
Professor Vassilis Lambropoulos has played a formative role for more than 35 years in the development of Modern Greek Studies as an academic field in the United States since the early 1980s. His work is inspired by the transnational complexity and interdisciplinary potential of the subject. Attuned to the paradoxes and strains in perceptions of Hellenism today and to the challenges of situating Modern Greek Studies in higher learning in North America, Lambropoulos built Modern Greek Programs at two major public universities, The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, to provide space for well-grounded, well-researched, and well-connected inquiry. He taught and advised undergraduates, trained graduate students who became his colleagues, served on international boards, initiated collaborative projects, organized free and open public events, and published extensively, putting the Greeks in a comparative perspective. The ongoing effort to view Greece, Greek, and Greeks in a modern, global perspective and encourage thinking across linguistic, geographical, cultural, historical, and philosophical boundaries best characterizes his legacy.
In this spirit, each year the Essay series commissions two (2) short essays (of approximately 500-1500 words) that propose innovative approaches to the field of Modern Greek Studies as it is evolving specifically in North America. The field includes research, teaching, administration, outreach, and creative, reflective work. The aim is to take the pulse of Modern Greek Studies and to shed light on the most promising new avenues for critical engagement that place the field at the center of our disciplines, our students, and/or our communities.
Essays are commissioned from faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and independent scholars, with a strong preference for junior scholars. Writers are selected by a committee consisting of the C. P. Cavafy Professor and the Chairs or representatives of the Department of Classical Studies and the Department of Comparative Literature. Commissioned in the Spring, the essays are posted in the Fall permanently on a special webpage of the Modern Greek Program website titled “The Vassilis Lambropoulos Essays on New Directions in Modern Greek Studies.”