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Centennial Gala Celebrates 100 Years of ACG Excellence in Greece

In a dazzling celebration at the Athens Concert Hall on Friday, December 1, 550 members of the ACG community, including alumni, educators, supporters, and distinguished awardees, commemorated the 100th anniversary of ACG’s presence in Greece. The Centennial Gala, not only a milestone event, successfully launched the Centennial Fund, raising an impressive €1.3 million, empowering ACG to pave the way for the next century of excellence. The funds raised will provide financial assistance to over 50% of the student body, introduce new educational programs and make substantial investments in faculty development. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Platinum Benefactors: Alexandra Martinou, AEGEAS NPCC, TEMES, and The Charles Antetokounmpo Family Foundation, as well as our Gold Benefactor Europa Insurance Co. and Silver Benefactor ACCENTURE.

Hosted by Lila Kountourioti, the Gala featured mesmerizing performances by our ACG faculty, staff, alumni, students and musician Leon of Athens and was curated by director Apostolia Papadamaki. Special recognition was extended to the talented actress and Pierce alumna Mimi Denissi for her engaging theatrical performance. Orsalia Parthenis (Pierce ‘89) generously provided dresses for the artistic performance. The event was supported by the valuable contributions of our benefactors, and we send a warm thank you to our Deree Ambassadors who volunteered their time, as well as KALOS TFM for graciously supplying T-shirts for our volunteers.

President David G. Horner opened the gala and reflected on that time, 100 years ago, when “the school was utterly destroyed by a fire that engulfed the surrounding city. What must they [the school’s faculty and staff] have thought? What must they have left? Leaving Smyrna behind and beginning again in another country, in Greece, here in Athens? What courage, what faith, what indomitable spirit! This is the story we celebrate tonight – the story of this school and the country, Greece, that adopted it. A story of perseverance, of passionate pursuit of excellence, “Not to be served, but to serve!”


The Gala hosted esteemed government officials from Greece and the US, including Kyriakos Pierrakakis, Minister of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports and US Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, George Tsunis, who underscored the importance of education in their addresses. Also present at the event was Domna Michailidou, Deputy Minister of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports.

The next part of the event was the awards for the remarkable people who have walked the halls of The American College of Greece and gone on to leave an indelible mark on the world. We turned the spotlight on the extraordinary successes of alumni who have become beacons of inspiration and embodied the values instilled by this institution. In this celebration of excellence, we honored alumni of Pierce, Deree and Alba in the following five categories: Arts & Culture, Business, Education & Science, Social Impact and the Maria West Lifetime Achievement, given to the alumni whose life’s work reflects the enduring principles that have guided the founders of ACG and continue to inspire it today.

The Arts & Culture award was presented to Sophia Kalogeropoulou (Pierce ’64), while the Business Awards were bestowed upon Elena Chouliara (Alba ’01), Nelly Katsou (Pierce ’83), Vassilios Katsos (Pierce ’91), and Nikos Koumettis (Deree ’86). Barbara Geladakis, MD (Pierce ’95) received the Education & Science award, and the Social Impact award was granted to Vana Lavidas (Pierce ’79) and Lena Papalexopoulou (Pierce ’82). The pinnacle of recognition was reserved for Athina Martinou (Pierce’45), and her son, Thanasis Martinos, graciously accepted the prestigious Maria West Lifetime Achievement award on behalf of his mother. The award statues were created by sculptor Athena Politopoulou-Kargsten, Pierce ’56 & ’57.

The awards were presented by a noteworthy lineup of individuals who have made significant contributions in their respective fields. The list of esteemed presenters includes Sophia Zarabouka (Pierce ’57), Ioannis Arabatzis (Alba ’05), Alexandra Pitta Chazapi (Pierce ’67), Achilles Constantakopoulos, Mina Gaga, MD (Pierce ’76), Athina Dessypri (Pierce ’81), and Kostas Tsigkourakos (Deree ’05).

Honoring Athina Martinou with the Maria West Lifetime Achievement Award:

The attendees were dazzled by a captivating photographic exhibition showcasing ACG’s remarkable milestones over the past 100 years. Curated by Ioanna Papapavlou, Senior Manager, ACG Art Collection, and supported by Demetra Papaconstantinou, College Archivist, the exhibition offered a nostalgic journey through our rich history. Adding a melodious touch to the Gala was our musical supervisor and composer, Nassos Sopilis, Manager of MU/TV/DM Studios, Deree – ACG.

The Gala received extensive press coverage and was featured on Mega Channel and ANT1 TV, showcasing the event’s significance. The centennial celebration not only acknowledged ACG’s historical importance but also underscored its continued commitment to education and cross-cultural understanding.

If you’re interested in delving into our history, exploring our impact in Greece, and reading well wishes from ACG alumni and friends, please visit the Centennial website here.

Heartfelt gratitude is extended to all attendees and participants for joining the Centennial Gala, and contributing to ACG’s rich history. Here’s looking ahead to the next 100 years of fostering students and graduates for positive economic development and social impact in Greece and globally.

100 Years of Striving Towards Excellence:


Watch the Gala in full below: