Peter Pontikis, an alumnus of the University of Sydney, has generously pledged to donate a total of $175,000 for the teaching of Modern Greek language and culture.
Pontikis’s gift of $35,000 per annum for the next five years will support instruction at the Department of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies, including the production of the first-ever textbook specifically tailored to the teaching of Modern Greek in the Australian tertiary education system.
“Peter Pontikis is one of the most engaged and committed lifelong students of Greek culture and language,” said Professor Vrasidas Karalis, Chair of the Department of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies. “Peter’s donation gives us the opportunity to prepare material for people who haven’t studied Greek and want to explore their linguistic origins and foundational cultural stories.”
Pontikis graduated from the University of Sydney with the Bachelor of Economics in 1984 and obtained a Master of Arts degree much later, in 2005.
“It was my village and alma mater, where life and its opportunities began to open for me. It was luck and a gift,” said Pontikis. “It is with deep gratitude that I have the honour to return to the sandstone starting block of my journey after half a life’s arc.”
“Language – the element that defines our very humanity as a species – is what connects us to a greater whole,” he mused.
“The Greek language plays a nuanced role throughout history in this connection with past endeavours and experiences, and still continues to do so today,” Pontikis added.