Since its establishment in 1886, Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece, has paved the way for high-quality education. A private, non-profit educational institution, the college has grown in bounds to encompass three subdivisions: The American College of Thessaloniki (ACT), Anatolia High School and Anatolia Elementary. The school owes its progress to the close working relationship between American and Greek educational stakeholders and generous contributions from donors.
Anatolia College is committed to helping students develop their talents by providing innovative educational solutions. The school aims to help as many students as possible, regardless of financial circumstance. One of its core goals is to impact the wider society by building lasting partnerships that help in the development of socially responsible initiatives. This target aligns well with the work of donors, many of whom like to contribute towards public benefit initiatives.
Anatolia College’s donors play an important role that the school sought to recognise on 3rd June 2016 during a special ceremony. Amongst the donors acknowledged for their contributions was the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, named after the late philanthropic businessman by the same name. At the ceremony, the Foundation was honoured with the Carl C. Compton award, which is named after the institution’s fifth president.
The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation
The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the late John S. Latsis; a Greek businessman who was respected for his business acumen and numerous acts of charity. He embraced hard work from a young age and established a business empire that included interests in construction, banking, agricultural goods and petroleum. John never shied from helping his countrymen through public benefit initiatives and it was in this spirit that his family – Henrietta (wife); Spiro, Marianna and Margarita (children) – established the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation in 2005, two years after he passed away.
The Foundation works with various organisations and civil society partners in Greece to fund and manage initiatives across a number of fields including health, science, education, environment and social welfare. A Supervisory Board, of which Spiro Latsis is a member, and an Executive Board oversee the work of the Foundation. In addition to driving programs that bring social benefit, the Foundation has also taken up grant-making activity to prioritise emergency relief for citizens. Additionally, capacity building, academic and research reward, infrastructural improvement and community development remain amongst the Foundation’s objectives.
After the death of John S. Latsis, Spiro Latsis took over the management of his father’s business interests. Whilst the family still maintains a presence in the shipping industry, much of the wealth has been redirected to other sectors. There are stakes in oil, real estate and investment banking. Spiro Latsis has three degrees from the London School of Economics and is an Honorary Fellow and Member of the Court of Governors of the London School of Economics.
Anatolia College: Brief History
Anatolia College was founded in 1886 as a theological seminary and was originally called the Anatolia College of Mersovan. Charles Tracy served as the seminary’s president, with many of the students being Greek and Armenian. The faculty included American teachers, thanks to the work of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which established its presence decades before.
In the 1920’s, Anatolia college was reopened in Thessaloniki, with rented buildings in Harilaou serving the school’s needs. The Mission School for Girls in Thessaloniki also became a part of Anatolia and in 1934, the college moved to a new campus. At the turn of World War II, the school was closed and used as a military hospital and later on, was occupied by German forces. It wasn’t until after the war ended that the school reopened and through the support of the community, established itself as a strong learning institution.
The original element of Anatolia College is Anatolia High School, which provides education in accordance with the Greek Ministry of Education. The high school curriculum is taught in Greek, except for courses in Art, Computers and English. The American College of Thessaloniki is the tertiary division and is recognised by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Undergraduate programs at ACT are also accredited by the Open University in the UK.
Anatolia Elementary formally opened its doors in 2005 and features a kindergarten and elementary school.
Some prominent Greek personalities have passed through Anatolia College. Gikas Hardouvelis, who graduated in 1973, is the current Minister of Finance in Greece. The Mayor of Thessaloniki, Yiannis Boutaris, is also an alumnus of the institution, having graduated in 1960. The former CEO of Titan America, Aris Papadopoulos, is another famous figure associated with Anatolia.