American School Celebrates Annual Gala in New York City

Former US Ambassador to Greece R. Nicholas Burns introduces Malcolm Wiener as recipient of the Athens Prize

New York, NY – Nearly 350 guests attended the Annual Gala Dinner celebrating the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) and the Gennadius Library on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at the prestigious Capitale in New York City. The event benefited the mission of the American School as the preeminent overseas research center preserving, promoting, and protecting Greece’s past from antiquity to the present day.  

Guests were welcomed by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American School and the Board of Overseers of the Gennadius Library, Alexander Zagoreos. He spoke about our honorees, but also expressed gratitude to the outgoing Director of the School, Professor James Wright, for his five years of distinguished service. He also welcomed, among others, Professor Jenifer Neils, from Case Western University, who will serve as the first female Director in the School’s 136-year history.

The evening also honored and celebrated two very distinguished contributors to the School: Malcolm H. Wiener, the recipient of the Athens Prize, and Lloyd E. Cotsen, recipient of the Gennadius Prize.


Nearly 350 guests packed the beautiful Capitale in New York City

Malcolm Wiener is an Aegean prehistorian, Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees, and author of more than 40 articles and numerous books. He was the recipient of the School’s Athens Prize for “outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge of ancient Greece.” Former U.S. Ambassador to Greece R. Nicholas Burns introduced Mr. Wiener, and called the School the most important bridge between the U.S. and Greece. In June 2016, we celebrated the inauguration of our new state-of-the-art Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science.

Malcolm Wiener accepts the Athens Prize. From left: Wiener Lab Director Panagiotis Karkanas, former US Ambassador
to Greece R. Nicholas Burns, School Director James Wright, Carolyn Wiener, Trustee President William Loomis,
Malcolm Wiener, School Trustee Robert Desnick and next School Director Jenifer Neils

Lloyd Cotsen was the former President of the Board of Trustees of the ASCSA and the first Chairman of the Board of Overseers of the Gennadius Library. His passion for Greece began in the 1950s when he served as the Field Architect for excavations at Lerna, producing plans that are essential for the understanding of that important Bronze Age site. Later, Mr. Cotsen become increasingly involved with the Gennadius Library, and when its separate Board of Overseers was established in 1995, he was the obvious choice to be its first Chairman, an office he held until 2010. Under his leadership, the Library’s restricted endowment grew from just under $2 million to $10.6 million, the Main Building and East Wing were renovated and expanded, and a new state-of-the-art auditorium, Cotsen Hall, was dedicated. He was the recipient of the Gennadius Prize for “outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge of post-antique Greece.”

Corinna Cotsen accepts on behalf of her father Lloyd Cotsen who passed away 2 days before the event.
Inset: Eric and Corinna Cotsen with the Gennadius Prize.

The School was saddened to learn of Mr. Cotsen’s passing earlier in the week. A moment of silence was held in his honor, and the presence of his children Corinna and Eric, their spouses, and Lloyd’s grandchildren transformed the evening into a celebration of his life. His abiding passion for Greece and the Greek people will be remembered.

Following the presentation of the Gennadius Prize, Maria Georgopoulou, Director of the Gennadius Library, announced the following two major contributions to the Gennadius: $1.5 million from Constantine (Deno) and Marie Macricostas and the Macricostas Family Foundation, to name the new West Wing in honor of General Ioannis Makriyannis, and a $400,000 Challenge Grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in support of the reclassification and security tagging initiative.

Archaeologist and long-time friend and colleague of Lloyd Cotsen, Ernestine Elster, watches the tribute video to him.

Auction items on display at cocktail hour.

Videos showcasing the School, our honorees, and the Gennadius Library were unveiled that evening and were a highlight of the event. You can watch the videos and see the photographs from the evening here.

Next year’s event, will be held on Thursday, May 10, 2018. Details will be announced soon.