Happy Anniversaries, Anatolia!

Like planets in conjunction, three bright anniversaries have aligned themselves in Anatolia's heavens in the year 2006. Two hundred years ago a thunderstorm broke over the heads of some Williams College students at an outdoor prayer meeting, leading to ambitious plans made under the shelter of a haystack, and, in 1810, to the American Protestant missionary movement. One of the movement's first missions was to the Ottoman Empire, and in 1886, one hundred-twenty years ago, Anatolia College was founded on the grounds of the theological seminary that had been established in the city of Merzifon in what is now north central Turkey. Finally, in 1981, more than

fifty years after Anatolia had relocated to Greece and become a junior and senior high school, it revived its college division, now known as the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT), which is now in its twenty-fifth year.

There will be bicentennial ceremonies of the Haystack Meeting at Williams, and in Greece a stamp has been issued to mark Anatolia's 120th. ACT, which began as a two-year, post-secondary college of business and liberal arts, is now at 25 a US-accredited four-year college with a highly successful MBA program.

"Anatolia's history spans three nations, on three continents, in three centuries," remarks President Richard Jackson. "Yet we have had great continuity of purpose from our earliest days to the present time. We still aim to educate socially responsible men and women ready to make the world a better place. The need for citizens with cross-cultural understanding, proficiency in languages, and technological expertise has never been greater. We are one of the world's educational centers best positioned to impart these qualities to students in this anniversary year. That is a mission worth toasting - and supporting."

The first round of toasts will be made at the May 25-28 Trustee Meetings in Thessaloniki. Alumni Homecoming on campus on May 28 will undoubtedly produce a few more. Then on May 29 the Athens Alumni Association will follow up with a gala dinner for Trustees and Alumni at the Byzantine Estate of Association President George Nasioudjik '50 in Athens. It promises to be quite a festive week - and year.

(Posting date 7 July 2006)

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