Entrepreneur Alex Pissios Donates $1.25M to University of Chicago for Greek Language Studies

Entrepreneur Alex Pissios Donates $1.25M to University of Chicago for Greek Language Studies

In a philanthropic gesture, Chicago-based entrepreneur Alex Pissios has donated $1.25 million to the University of Chicago’s Division of the Humanities and Center for Hellenic Studies. This generous contribution aims to support the teaching of the Greek language, according to the University of Chicago.

“The “gift will support the overall teaching of the Greek language,” says the University of Chicago.

Alex Pissios, hails from Chicago and is the son of Greek immigrants. His son is currently an undergrad at the University of Chicago.

Pissios made headlines previously for his role in building Cinespace Chicago into a major hub for film and television production powerhouse before selling it for nearly $1 billion in 2021. As the President and CEO of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, Pissios played a pivotal role in revitalising a depressed neighbourhood, creating over 15,000 jobs, and infusing billions of dollars into the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois.

Cinespace Chicago has been the site for over 40 major productions, including blockbuster films like Transformers, Divergent, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as various productions from streaming giants like Amazon, HBO, and Netflix. It's also been home to hit TV shows such as Empire, Shameless, and the renowned "Chicago franchise" by producer Dick Wolf, including Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and Chicago PD.

With 32 sound stages, production offices, and numerous production tenants offering services ranging from equipment rental to post-production, Cinespace Chicago has become known as the "Hollywood of the Midwest."

Beyond his entrepreneurial endeavours, Alex Pissios is recognised for his extensive charity work in the Chicago community. He has volunteered with school children in the North Lawndale neighbourhood through programs like "Caregiver for a Day" with Sinai Health System. Additionally, Pissios has been involved with organizations like SOS Children's Villages Illinois, advocating for foster care awareness, and has sponsored initiatives with organizations like Latinos Progressando and Safe Haven.

Entrepreneur Alex Pissios Donates $1.25M to University of Chicago for Greek Language Studies
Anastasia Giannakidou, founder and inaugural director of the Center for Hellenic Studies and the Frank J. McLoraine Professor in the Department of Linguistics at University of Chicago

The $1.25 million gift from the Alexander S. Pissios Family Foundation Fund for Teaching of the Greek Language will have a significant impact on the study of Greek language and culture at the University of Chicago.

Anastasia Giannakidou, founder and inaugural director of the Center for Hellenic Studies and the Frank J. McLoraine Professor in the Department of Linguistics at University of Chicago, highlighted the importance of the Greek language in preserving a rich cultural tradition spanning over three thousand years. The donation will allow the Center to continue offering Modern Greek studies, extend academic initiatives, and engage with the historical Greek community in Chicago, she said.

“What unifies Greek identity through time and space is the Greek language, which presents a rich repertoire of continuous, unbroken tradition that stretches back for more than three thousand years,” says Anastasia.

“The generous gift will allow the Center for Hellenic Studies to continue offering Modern Greek at the University of Chicago, extend its academic initiatives, and further its engagement with the historical Greek community in Chicago by supporting the teaching of Modern Greek, which is currently a small minority language is the U.S. in need of revitalisation.

“At the UChicago, we want to offer an interdisciplinary forum for students and faculty who want to study the rich Hellenic tradition within the unified framework of Hellenic Studies. We hope to be able to establish a dialogue between disciplines in the direction of illuminating how relevant and useful Greek ideas continue to be today, and how transformative it is to study them as we address major current problems in society and try to find solutions.”

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