The Department of Classics at Illinois has received from LAS alumnus George Reveliotis an endowment commitment of $1.5 million, one of the largest gifts to a humanities program on campus.
The George N. Reveliotis Family Hellenic Studies Endowment will support a lecturer position in the Department of the Classics, which offers courses in Ancient and Modern Greek studies. In addition and most importantly, the endowment will support undergraduate and graduate scholarships and fellowships, as well as study abroad opportunities. In the near future, the endowment will also support a professorship in Hellenic Studies.
Reveliotis (BA, ’96, history), a father of four, is the founder and managing partner in Reveliotis Law, P.C., a property tax and real estate law firm in Park Ridge, Illinois. He serves as the president of the Pan-Arcadian Federation of America and a board member of the Greek American Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He is also on the board of advisors of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation.
He has already been a strong supporter of the Department of Classics. He previously funded a teaching assistant position for the Department, and in late 2018 he pledged another $100,000 to fund a lecturer. The 2018 gift has now been incorporated into the $1.5 million endowment, which Reveliotis has pledged over the next 10 years.
Reveliotis said that his decision to give came from perspective he’s gained as an attorney who has helped people who’ve come to America work through their successes and failures. He wanted to leave something that carried a “different type of value,” he said, which can carry on in perpetuity.
“The purpose of the endowment will be to help reconnect academia with its roots, to connect students with the history, the language, and the light of the civilization that Greece has given to the world, because I believe that it is a way to promote Hellenism through education at American universities, where Hellenism will be taught to non-Greeks,” Reveliotis said.
“The United States is more than just a nation or country. It is an idea. It is an institution of the mind where everything is possible as evidenced by the founders’ vision and the Bill of Rights. In essence, America is a child of Hellenism,” Reveliotis added. “As such, we Americans need to be afforded the opportunity to learn the basic tenets of Hellenism as they were known at inception and their first application in the world’s first institution of the Western mind.”
Antony Augoustakis, head of the Department of Classics, said that the generous endowment from Reveliotis will strengthen a thriving department on campus and its Ancient and Modern Greek programs.
“Such superb support for the classics and Hellenic Studies translates into amazing opportunities for the undergraduate and graduate students who study the classics, not only Greek language but also cultural studies,” Augoustakis said.
The Department of Classics began to offer Modern Greek language classes last August and with great success. Classics offers a variety of classes to thousands of students every year. Greek Mythology alone enrolls 1,500 students every year and has a very long tradition at the University for many generations of undergraduates.
“The study of Ancient and Modern Greek will continue to thrive on the flagship campus of the University of Illinois, in a department with such a long tradition in offering Greek and courses in Hellenic culture since the foundation of the university,” Augoustakis said.
There are three designations for the gift:
- The George N. Reveliotis family Hellenic Studies Lecturer Fund will support a lecturer in the Department of Classics to teach courses in Modern Greek language, Greek culture, and the reception of Classics.
- The George N. Reveliotis Family Hellenic Studies Travel Scholarship Fund will support scholarships intended to expose a wide variety of students to Hellenism through study abroad in Greece.
- The George N. Reveliotis Family Hellenic Studies Endowment Fund will support specific purposes such as professorships, graduate fellowships, and scholarships.
Feng Sheng Hu, the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of LAS, said that the gift from Reveliotis will support a vital avenue of study at Illinois.
“This wonderful gift is a testament to the excellence of people and programs in LAS and the Department of Classics, and it provides the means for an even more successful future,” Hu said. “We are enormously grateful for the generosity of Mr. Reveliotis. His gift helps secure the future of an important program in LAS, and it affirms the importance of Hellenic studies and humanities as fields of study.”
U of I Provost Andreas Cangellaris said that the university is fortunate for Reveliotis’ passion about Hellenic studies.
“This gift will help cultivate and extend access to Hellenic studies across the campus,” Cangellaris said. “We are grateful for his loyalty, and we look forward to all the good that his gift will bring to our programs and our students for years to come.”
By Dave Evensen, LAS News