The Phrixos B. Papachristidis Chair

The Faculty of Arts newsletter

The study of the languages, history, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome has a long tradition at McGill. Classics was among the first disciplines taught at the University, when James A.B. Ramsey became the first Professor of Classical Literature and History in 1834, nine years before the Faculty of Arts was established. Today, the Department of History and Classical Studies continues to draw on the academic expertise of scholars from various backgrounds.

One such scholar is Professor Anastassios (Tassos) Anastassiadis, the Phrixos B. Papachristidis Chair in Modern Greek and Greek-Canadian Studies.

Born in Thessaloniki in northern Greece, Anastassiadis attended a Greek-American high school and always dreamt of traveling and going abroad to study.

“There was no master career plan,” he says of his early growing up in Greece. “My original plan was to study theoretical physics but after a couple of years I was told that I would have to go into engineering, which didn’t thrill me as a perspective. So I opted for philosophy and political science instead.”

Following his studies and some years working as a consultant for the European Union (EU), Anastassiadis admits he much preferred the classroom experience to the office life and decided to complete his PhD and go into teaching. A decision which eventually led to his current role at McGill.

The Phrixos B. Papachristidis Chair in Modern Greek and Greek-Canadian Studies was first established at McGill in 1988 by the Papachristidis Family, in honour of, and named for, the late Montreal shipping industrialist. Since then, the fund has been supported by both the Governments of Greece and Canada, and by members of Montreal’s Greek community.

Though not yet fully funded, the Chair allows McGill to attract and recruit eminently qualified experts in the field of Modern Greek Studies who are progressive in their teaching of the Greek cultural diaspora and who can link scholars in areas such as language, sociology, and education with the Canadian Greek community.

In fact, meeting with this tightknit community is an important part of Anastassiadis’ mission and since he arrived to the University just over one year ago, he has been working closely with a dedicated group of volunteer fundraisers to ensure the Chair reaches its funding goal and leaves a lasting legacy at McGill.

“It’s far easier for fundraisers to do their job when the donors can actually meet the chairholder. The relationship becomes more personal. Then, I try to present the interest and pertinence of what we’re doing in the program.”

To learn more about The Phrixos B. Papachristidis Chair in Modern Greek and Greek-Canadian Studies or to inquire about making a gift, please visit www.mcgill.ca/arts/alumni/campaign/donors/papachristidis

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