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April 3, 2003

Tsakopoulos Collection to be dedicated

Tsakopoulos collection

Painting: by Mehri Yazdani, The Race II, 1988, mixed mediaThe Angelo K. Tsakopoulos collection of Hellenic, Balkan, and Near Eastern materials recently moved to the library of California State University, Sacramento, where it will be officially dedicated as the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection at a ceremony April 30 in the University Union Ballroom. The event is by invitation and a public opening is planned later in the year.

Master of ceremonies, California State Treasurer Philip Angelides, will introduce CSUS President Donald R. Gerth who will speak of his vision of the future for the collection, and California State Librarian Kevin Starr, who will speak on the significance of the collection to California.

The 70,000 volumes including paintings and other archival materials is now housed in a suite of rooms at the CSUS Library consisting of a circulating section, a periodicals room, a large high-tech lecture hall and offices.
Tsakopoulos, a prominent land developer and philanthropist who was born in Greece, began assembling the collection nearly 20 years ago. He was assisted in his efforts by Speros Vryonis, at the time chairman of the Near Eastern Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. The collection grew quickly and for 12 years was housed in the Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism in Rancho Cordova.

In seeking a new home for the growing collection, Tsakopoulos received offers from Northeastern universities, but after negotiations with CSUS the collection, valued at several million dollars, found a new home at his alma mater. His daughter, attorney Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis, also part of the negotiating team, said, "My feeling was that these institutions were already rich in classical resources. If would be wrong to remove the collection from Sacramento just because we have fewer scholars here who would take advantage of it. In fact, it is only by making the collection broadly accessible in the region that we can hope to encourage more people to elect this field of study, or to come to our region to pursue it."

Henry Chambers, CSUS history department, says he is delighted with the acquisition. He sees it not only as a magnet to attract established and fledgling scholars to the campus but also as a means of forging stronger ties to the large Hellenic community in the region.

The University is now conducting a search for a tenure-track Hellenic scholar, a Near Eastern scholar and a permanent specialist librarian to support the collection.

Tsakopoulos collection


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