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A professor from the University of Salonika in Greece will probably fill Harvard's chair in modern Greek studies next fall, sources said yesterday.
George P. Savides, professor of modern Greek philology, came to Cambridge to discuss his nomination for the George Seferis Chair of Modern Greek Literature and Language with Dean Rosovsky on June 12, sources who talked to Savides on that day said.
Rosovsky and President Bok, who make the final decision on tenured appointments, have declined all comment on the nomination.
The Seferis Chair was endowed two years ago by a gift of $1 million from the Greek government but has remained unoccupied since then.
The University Development Office has set a long-range goal of an additional million dollars in funding for Greek studies, which would allow for expansion beyond a tenured professorship to include one assistant professorship, two graduate student fellowships and the upkeep of library resources.
Savides is slated for a sabbatical from the University of Salonika next year that would enable him to teach full time at Harvard, sources said. After the first year, arrangements would be made for him to teach in both Cambridge and Salonika, the sources said.
An acquaintance of his in Boston said yesterday that Savides had already submitted course descriptions to the University.
A search committee for candidates in the field of literature for the professorship, the first in modern Greek studies since the 1920s, was established earlier this year.
Ihor Sevcenko, professor of Byzantine History and Literature and head of the committee, said yesterday the committee "has completed its deliberations and submitted a name," but refused to tell whether Savides was the nominee.
Albert B. Lord '34, Porter Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature and a member of the search committee, said yesterday that while he "knew that Mr. Savides was here," he was "not at liberty" to say whether he came at the recommendation of the committee.
Sevcenko said that competing committees have been established to scan candidates for the chair in other fields, particularly history.
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Charles D. Thompson of the University Development Office said last week that a campaign to raise the $1 million needed for an expanded program in modern Greek studies has not been "formally launched."
Paschalis Kitromiledes, a research associate at the Center for European Studies, said yesterday that the choice of a professor from Greece to fill the Seferis Chair might attract students from Greek universities to Harvard who would be able to "make a desirable and decisive contribution toward modernizing Greek education" upon their return home.
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