On Friday, September 7, Loring Hall opened its doors for move in day. Regular and Associate Members arrived to Souidias from institutions all over the United States boasting hours of travel and brimming with excitement at the start of the American School academic program.
After settling in, Regular Members were invited to Canaday House by ASCSA Mellon Professor Dr. Sylvian Fachard for a pizza party. Welcoming remarks were given by Fachard as well as from ASCSA Director Dr. Jenifer Neils. Fachard expressed his enthusiasm for the academic program and upcoming trips around Greece while Neils described how she looked forward to new Members integrating into the American School community. Whitehead Visiting Professors Dr. C.W. Toph Marshall, Professor of Greek at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Tyler Jo Smith, Associate Professor in the McIntire Department of Art at University of Virginia, also attended the event to meet the Regular Members and introduce their seminars, which will begin on November 26.
Throughout the rest of the week Members attended multiple orientation events acquainting them with the academic program and American School facilities and staff members. On campus, Members toured the Blegen Library, Computer Room, and Loring Hall while meeting ASCSA staff along the way. Director Neils also hosted individualized interviews with each Regular Member to personally welcome them to the School and suggest upcoming lectures and events related to their research.
A main highlight on campus was a lecture by special guest, Ambassador Alexandros Mallias titled, “The Macedonian Question.” Throughout his career, Ambassador Alexandros Mallias has held various positions within the Greek Foreign Service including the first Diplomatic Representative of Greece to Macedonia and Greek Ambassador to the United States. Members filled the room to hear the Ambassador discuss his experience serving the government while also addressing the current political climate of Greece.
During the remainder of orientation, Regular Members ventured to the Ancient Athenian Agora to meet ASCSA Agora Excavations staff, explore the archaeological site, and participate in an epigraphy workshop with Senior Associate Members Jim Sickinger and Laura Gawlinski.
The group also travelled to the Lysikrates Monument to hear a presentation by ASCSA Associate Member and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Janelle Sadarananda. Sadarananda, who completed the Regular Year during 2017-2018, spoke to Regular Members about the monument’s ancient and modern history and stressed the importance of considering archaeological material within cultural heritage discourse.
To close the week, Director Neils hosted a welcome party for the entire ASCSA community in the lower gardens of campus. Following a brief speech by Neils, Members enjoyed mingling with each other over light hors d'oeuvres and many were thrilled to start a new year at the American School.