A generous donation to The University of Queensland will cement the important role of the classics and ancient history in 21st Century education.
The donation from Brisbane clinical haematologist, oncologist and patron of the arts Dr Paul Eliadis will establish an academic Chair in Classics and Ancient History at UQ.
Dr Eliadis, who is a University of Queensland graduate, said he made the donation because he was convinced that understanding and appreciating art, ancient history and the classics formed key elements of a well-rounded education.
“To me, any Western university that doesn’t have a department that teaches the classics does not have a birth certificate,” Dr Eliadis said.
“It is not just one faculty that makes a university. They are all important, but to forget about where you came from is bizarre.”
UQ is the only University in Queensland to offer courses in the history, culture, language and literature of Ancient Greece and Rome.
UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said the endowed Chair in Classics and Ancient History was a boon for current and future students.
“It is an extraordinarily generous donation from Dr Eliadis, who is a loyal and exceptional alumnus who understands the importance of supporting his alma mater and giving young people the best opportunity to study the ancient traditions," Professor Høj said.
"An endowed Chair is a gift that keeps giving and is a way of building the capacity of the university to ensure that generations to come can benefit from an exceptional education in classical knowledge.”
Executive Dean of Arts Professor Fred D'Agostino said ancient history and classical languages were bedrock subjects that formed the basis of much contemporary knowledge, both theoretical and applied.
"We are greatly honoured by Dr Eliadis’ generosity to a faculty outside his field of professional study,” Professor D’Agostino said.
"Education and enquiry in these disciplines is vital to understanding contemporary issues in society, culture, politics, justice and the economy.
“The gift will enable the University to continue to strengthen its standing as an international leader in classics and ancient history education.”
Professor D’Agostino said an academic chair was a senior position generally held by a person seen as a leader in the field.
“This is a full-time, continuing position that involves teaching, research and leadership to staff and students,” he said.
“A Chair is an enduring post and the highest academic role that we can bestow on a scholar, and the new Chair is sure to attract distinguished applicants from a highly competitive international field,” Professor D’Agostino said.
It is hoped the new Chair will begin in the position early next year.
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