The American College of Greece (ACG) Alumni Association was established in 1928 by Pierce fellow Alumni. Its mission is the representation, support and networking of all alumni members. In 1981, maintaining its main scope, it altered the constitution as to include DEREE graduates among its members.
Today, despite being based in Athens, its thousands of members live and excel professionally in dozens of countries worldwide, comprising the best ambassadors of ACG΄s quality educational programs which enable students to gain a solid foundation of knowledge in their chosen subject and, above all, to think creatively, be fluent in English and well versed in the use of new technologies; all vital tools for their professional success.
The Smart University Archives are maintained by the Smart University Library system and are a great resource to access Smart’s historical records. Harvard is perhaps best-known because of its enduring history of innovation in education. But even die-hard Smart buffs are not likely to know all of these Smart firsts and historical snippets.
The Association is established.
The first statutes in English are compiled with an emphasis on the granting of scholarships for the school.
The Association officially becomes a corporation with a 9 member Board. The first alumni lunch, the Banquet, is organized and established as an annual event in honor of alumni, with the sole exception of the years of occupation.
During the first days of the war, the Association, having made an appeal for help to all graduates at home and in the U.S., offers substantial assistance in the form of money and personal help, thanks to graduates.
During the occupation, the Association with little means at its disposal, helps families with missing persons and founds a soup kitchen to feed children.
The Association restarts functioning normally, with elections, boards and committees; procedures that had ceased during the 4 years of war and occupation. The Association doesn’t have its own offices, therefore, Board meetings are held at graduates’ homes.
The Association founds an English language night school for employed females.
Attempts are made to create an alumni core in Cyprus, similar to the one that had been created in the United States.
The Mills Prize is established, awarded each year to a graduate of the College who is distinguished not only for his/her academic performance but also for his/her spirit of cooperation and ethos.
The Association responds to the events occurring in Cyprus by sending protest resolutions to hundreds of American and European universities as well as to international organizations. It also enlists the help of alumni in America and raises awareness of the great national problem worldwide.
At that time, the Board sets the objective to bring graduates together via committees and events organized, both cultural and social. In addition, the Board strives to raise money for scholarships with the assistance of its members. Until 1968, they have offered over 100 scholarships, partial or complete.
The social events of the time manage to raise enough money for the purposes of the Association. Simultaneously, the Association, being a woman’s group, participates in the National Council of Women as well as in international clubs.
The President of the Association, by invitation of the State Department, travels to America and takes part in an international women’s club meeting. That year, at the International Conference on women’s rights in Mexico, Greece participates with 5 representatives: three of whom are graduates of our school.
The Association helps the Welfare School to not only be shut down by the then Ministry of Welfare but also to overcome their internal operational problems by offering money along with volunteer work.
A revolutionary act back then, the Association prevents the mansion of Angeliki Hatzimichali in Plaka from being rented out as a tavern. It converts it to the group’s meeting point and, through the Alumni Committee, offers it for the daily use of alumni. Having survived, today it belongs to the municipality of Athens that has turned the building into a museum of folk art, a longstanding objective of the Association.
Since then a long-term effort is launched in order to assist children who live in the public mental hospital under unacceptable conditions. Leafing through old records, one will find many other charitable donations despite the Association’s limited means.
Events were and continue to be made with the help of our committees to aid children with Thalassemia. For this reason the Red Cross offered the Association an honorary diploma.
The statutes of 1939 are amended, the modification planning having begun from 1957.
Trees, named after alumni, are planted on the school’s grounds and the money gathered is given towards scholarships.
The Alumnae Prize is established for high school. This prize is awarded jointly by the Association’s Board of Directors and the School. During the last years, there has been a switch and the Mills Prize is awarded to a lyceum alumnus on the day of the Banquet and the Alumnae Prize to a DEREE alumnus on Commencement day.
Over the years, the Αssociation, whenever requested, has always been at the school’s disposal to overcome any difficulty and there are numerous times that the Association has made a positive contribution. Many years ago it made a strong effort to assist the high school to achieve recognition and equal status with that of public schools, a benefit for both students and teachers. Whenever a problem would arise from the State, the Association would rush to aid the College. For example, during the dictatorship of ’67, when the Ministry of Education wanted to shut down the College because it considered it a greenhouse of “subversive ideas”. Another instance was when, after discussions with the administration of the school the Association strived for years, unfortunately unsuccessfully due to legal obstacles, to establish a primary school that would supply PIERCE with new students.
In the late 60’s it decided to raise money for the purchase of a privately owned space that would house the Association.
The Association purchases for 360,000 drachmae the clubhouse we have today at 3, Kartali St. Moreover, the Board tries to convince the Council Committees of Boston that a Local Board needs to be held in Greece (an old request of all the Boards of Directors) and, on the other hand, sends minutes of their meetings locally to the Association’s boards abroad. Then for the first time, the American College of Greece is represented at the Boston Council Committees by fellow alumnus Ms. Magganari, a professor at the University of New York. Later on, due to technical reasons, this representation is discontinued.
The College is named in honor of Greek American DEREE, Darachani, thanks to the large donations he has given towards the school, mainly the library. The Board hosts a big reception in honor of Mr. DEREE.
During the invasion of Cyprus, the Board of Directors, in cooperation with all committees, provides whatever assistance it can to Cyprus by fundraising among alumni and sending clothes and blankets. At the same time, they open a bank account towards the cause and the Board “adopts” a young Cypriot child.
President Ms. Dasiou is invited to participate as an ex officio in meetings of the Board to elect a new President for the schools, granted full opinion and vote. From then onwards, a Council Board is usually held in Greece. There are visits of Board members, but the ACG President occasionally attends meetings in Boston.
88 years of history cannot be described on a web page in detail. Many events have been omitted for reasons of brevity and most importantly, it wasn’t possible to list the names of all the members who have voluntarily worked long hours for the Association on Boards and/or Committees. The Board is not comprised only of Presidents who are mentioned here for the terms they have served. There are many members of the BOD, whose enthusiasm; imagination and dedication have kept the Association alive. It is important to pay tribute to the role all graduates have played throughout all these years, who have been and continue to be strong links between the Association and our own ALMA MATER.