The Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan is delighted to announce a marvelous gift from the Onassis Foundation USA, which has pledged $80,000 to the Classics department with $20,000 additional funds available for extra opportunities. The gift will be used to establish the Onassis Distinguished Diversity Scholarship for Graduate Study Fund.

The Onassis Distinguished Diversity Scholarship shall provide extra support for those eight students in the Bridge MA. Beginning in the academic year 2018-2019 and continuing for four years through 2021-2022, the Department of Classical Studies will admit two promising students specializing in Classical Studies, Ancient Philosophy, Ancient History, or Greek and Roman Archaeology Program to pursue a three-semester MA, so that they can develop their Ancient Greek and Latin language skills to the level needed to pursue a PhD in Classical Studies. The tuition and stipend for the Bridge MA’s eight students from 2018 to 2022 are fully funded for by the Rackham Graduate School, School of Literature Science and Arts, and Department of Classical Studies.

The gift gives $10,000 in scholarship money to two Bridge MA students each year to spend on enriching educational and scholarly opportunities. This scholarship will also offer an additional $5,000 per student ($20,000 total ) if students attend the Paideia Institute Living Greek in Greece program or pursue internship opportunities at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens.

The Department of Classical Studies and the Onassis Foundation found common ground to create this scholarship fund on the shared desire to offer equal opportunity to students of diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and so to promote the humanities and increase diversity in Classical studies.

For nearly two decades the University of Michigan Department of Classical Studies and the Onassis Foundation have had a rich collaboration. The Onassis Foundation has historically supported Greek society through the pillars of Education, Culture and Health. It was established in December 1975 in accordance with Aristotle Onassis' last wish to honor the memory of his son, Alexander. Half of Aristotle Onassis' fortune was the initial funding for the Foundation. Since then, all the programs and initiatives of the Foundation have been financed by its successful business activity. The Onassis Foundation USA, an affiliate of the parent Foundation, promotes cultural relations through two major initiatives, one cultural for the general public through its Onassis Cultural Center New York, and the other educational for scholars and students in partnership with academic institutions through the Onassis Humanities Impact Program. Since 1999, Michigan’s Modern Greek Program and Classical Studies have hosted many Onassis Scholars. In 2002, Modern Greek and the Kelsey Museum received support for the publication of “What these Ithakas Mean…”: Readings in Cavafy, the book that accompanied the exhibit “Cavafy’s World” at the Kelsey Museum, Hatcher Graduate Library, and University of Michigan Museum of Art.

The Onassis Distinguished Diversity Scholarship for Graduate Study Fund is the next phase in this history of collaboration. Young Richard Kim, who joined the Onassis Foundation USA as Director of Educational Programs in 2017, played a central role. He is a classical historian who received his MA and PhD from the University of Michigan. With the Onassis Distinguished Diversity Scholarship, Dr. Kim, the Classics Chair Artemis Leontis, and the Director of the Bridge MA Sara Ahbel-Rappe, together with the entire faculty in Classical Studies, hope to open doors of life-changing opportunities for the next generation of classicists, archaeologists, and ancient historians.

For more information about the Onassis Foundation, click here