#51: Fruitful interactions (1930)

"It was very interesting to visit our fellow teacher at the University and see what he was doing. There were about a thousand students in the institution, nearly all of them young men. Many were refugees and very poor. Some had no fire in their rooms by which to study during cold weather. Many boarded themselves, with the most meagre facilities for preparing food. The Club occupied a rather roomy house rented and furnished by the University. There was room for study, games, reading, and writing, and the varied interests of the students, with a good cafeteria furnishing food at barely cost prices, and all under carefully strict regulations as to all conduct. Mr. Iatrides carried this work on for more than two years and then was invited to accept the position permanently at full time service and with the rank and rewards of a university professor. I rather thought he would go, but he chose to continue with the College and we rejoiced. This record chiefly for American readers who cannot adequately recognize able and loyal overseas Greek associates.

I timed my visit to America that fall with some reference to a national meeting of the Ahepa, which was held in Boston soon after we landed. A-H-E-P-A was a rather ambitious organization of Greeks in America (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association), among half a million Hellenes who had migrated to Hesperia. This was a very important and useful movement. Its members were Greek- Americans, wholly loyal to the country of their adoption and desirous of promoting Americanism in every respect, including loyal citizenship among the members. At the same time, they were as proud of their classical heritage as were representatives of other nationalities whose fore- fathers had settled in this country. The group gatherings in different American cities where they could enjoy a degree of social life, talk in their mother tongue, confer and promote some community enterprises in the way of philanthropy, education, business, picnics, and excursions, including usually one annual trip of those who could go on a visit to the old country, were a cheerful and useful feature of their life in the country of their adoption.

Some of the leaders at this annual meeting in Boston gave me a cordial welcome and at one point in their program, one of them asked me to take a few steps with him. He opened a back stage door, and I found myself on the platform of a large hall filled with men, everyone standing, and with hearty applause they welcomed the transfer of the College from Turkey to Greece and welcomed me as its representative. Afterward, I frequently addressed chapters of the Ahepa in different cities, always with cordial and courteous treatment and often with some gift or gifts for American education in Macedonia."

NEXT: Summer (1931)