George J Tsunis, Esq. (left) with Peter V. Tsantes
STONY BROOK, N.Y., September 16, 2013—Stony Brook University has received $375,000 from Peter V. Tsantes to advance academic excellence in teaching, education and research in Greek Language and Literature through the establishment of the Peter V. Tsantes Professorship in Hellenic Studies. The gift was matched by George J. Tsunis, Esq. and his family, creating a total impact of $750,000 and fully endowing the Professorship within the College of Arts and Sciences.
The incumbent of the Professorship in Hellenic Studies will promote and enhance the teaching of Greek language at Stony Brook University, perform scholarly work related to Greek language and literature and engage both undergraduate and graduate students in research. The incumbent will also serve as the director of the minor in Hellenic Studies.
This latest donation from Tsantes, and wife, Despina, of Hauppauge, NY is one of many from the couple who support Stony Brook Hellenic Studies they say as an expression of immense appreciation for Aikaterini Spanos H. Batouyious and her family who first brought Tsantes to the United States in 1951, and also in memory of Tsantes’ parents, Sophia and Vasilios Tsantes. Over the past decade, the Tsantes family donated over $270,000 to Stony Brook’s Hellenic Studies, including a travel scholarship to support students who study abroad in Greece.
“As a result of these generous gifts, the incumbent of the Professorship in Hellenic Studies will educate and enlighten Stony Brook students and the community at large on Hellenic studies and its deeply-rooted influence on the world today,” said Nancy Squires, Dean of Stony Brook’s College of Arts and Sciences.
The treasurer of the New York chapter of the American Foundation for Greek Language and Culture (AFGLC), Tsantes envisioned a Hellenic studies program at Stony Brook University for many years. “I hope a Hellenic studies program at Stony Brook will attract students who want to expand their understanding,” said Tsantes. “With greater understanding, we hope to enrich the education of our students and inspire a new generation of teachers of Greek ideas and culture.”
Matching funds for this gift were provided by George Tsunis and his wife, Olga, who reside in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. He is the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Chartwell Hotels, LLC, which owns, develops and manages Hilton, Marriott, and Intercontinental hotels throughout the Northeast and Middle Atlantic. George made the gift in honor of Peter Tsantes and in appreciation of Peter’s commitment to Hellenic Studies at SBU.
“Education was of the utmost importance to my parents and so creating an academic program to celebrate the many rich traditions of Hellenic culture is the ideal tribute,” said Tsunis.
Stony Brook’s Vice President for Advancement Dexter A. Bailey Jr., said, “With the transformative investments by Peter Tsantes and George Tsunis, Stony Brook Hellenic Studies Center can achieve its ambition to be a preeminent center for promoting and preserving the humanistic values of Greek civilization.”