Professor Alexander Cambitoglou, the first person of Greek background to become a university professor in Australia in 1963, has passed away at the age of 97.
Cambitoglou spent more than five decades tirelessly championing Australian research in Greece as well as his lifelong passions of classical archaeology and attic vase painting. He was also a world authority on the subject of red-figure vase painting of the Greek colonies of southern Italy.
In 1980 he had the insight to create the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens (AAIA) promoting and enabling Australian research in Greece and leaving a legacy for future Australian scholars, and at 96 years old he was still working at his office at the University of Sydney on a daily basis.
Born in Thessaloniki in 1922 to parents hailing from Veria and Thessaloniki he was a bright and studious child in what was then an interesting, cosmopolitan centre, receiving private tuition in Ancient Greek, Latin, French, German, English, and piano in addition to his formal high school education. He proceeded to obtain a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Thessaloniki as well as Doctorates at the Universities of London and Oxford, eventually becoming a Classical Archaeologist.
“The most important achievement for me is the creation of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, through which Australia joined another 18 foreign schools or institutes in the Greek capital. My love for Australia and Greece led me to create the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens,” Professor Cambitoglou told Greek City Times in an interview in 2018.
The Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens announced that Professor Cambitoglou’s passed away on Friday the 29th of November.
“The long list of Professor Cambitoglou’s achievements is truly awe-inspiring. His dedicated efforts have established Classical Archaeology, and more widely Greek studies, in Australia on a very firm footing. His vision has inspired generations of students, and will continue to do so, while his dedication to his field has set a benchmark for many of his colleagues,” said Dr. Stavros Paspalas, Acting Director.
“Alexander will be greatly missed, both here in Australia and in Greece, as well as more generally internationally as he is widely recognised as one of the great classical archaeologists of his generation. His multi-faceted legacy, well characterised by the AAIA, is his lasting gift to Australia and for this, and much more, I am certain that we are all grateful to him,” added Mr. Paspalas.
*Read Greek City Times exclusive interview with Professor Cambitoglou here-