The C. P. Cavafy Professorship in Modern Greek was endowed by the Foundation of Modern Greek Studies through a gift agreement it signed with the University of Michigan in 1999.
The Foundation for Modern Greek Studies was incorporated in 1997 under the Michigan Non-Profit Corporation Act as a non-stock directorship corporation. Its mission is to promote the study of modern Greek language and culture by supporting educational institutions as well as other efforts serving these fields.
Following the gift agreement signed in 1999, the Foundation donated $750,000 in three annual installments to the Modern Greek Studies Endowed Professorship Fund in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. This gift supplemented the considerable resources that Michigan had already put in place toward such a position. The Foundation completed its mission through grass-roots efforts reaching hundreds of donors. The endowed chair was officially inaugurated in Fall 2001 and given the name of C. P. Cavafy, the greatest Greek poet since antiquity.
With the first campaign completed on schedule, in Summer 2002 the Foundation signed a second landmark agreement with the University, establishing the Modern Greek Program Support Fund. Annual gifts to the Fund are used for two important purposes: to provide undergraduate and graduate scholarships to students pursuing Modern Greek, and to provide funding for a wide variety of Modern Greek cultural events. The Foundation has worked closely with faculty Vassilis Lambropoulos, Artemis Leontis, and Despina Margomenou and the University to develop a unique program of academic and cultural events (all of them free and open to the public) that lasts almost nine months each year.
To those who seek a rich Greek presence within American campuses, the story of the fruitful collaboration between the Foundation, the Greek American communities of southeastern Michigan, and the University of Michigan is a model of success.