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A lecture on Greece’s contributions to human civilization inspired businessman Michael A. Papadeas to donate more than 100 Hellenic books to Randall Library at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
“I have spent 50 years collecting these books, and I wanted them to go to a place where they can be preserved and shared.”
Approximately 30 percent of the books are written in English.
“The remaining collection covers the long, often tragic, often inspiring history and literature of the Greek people from 2800 BCE (before common era) to the present,” Papadeas said. “The books are written in the Hellenic language and its variants that necessarily evolved over the centuries from Homer’s poetry, to the Classical Greek of Plato and Aristotle, to Hellenistic Greek, to Koine, to Katharevousa (“High Greek” used by the state until 1975) and to today’s Demotic Greek, spoken by the people.”
His donation to the library’s Special Collections supports its mission to obtain rare books, manuscripts and other materials of interest to scholars as well as residents of Southeastern North Carolina, according to Sarah Barbara Watstein, university librarian.
“These books are in such good condition,” Watstein said. “This donation shows that Mr. Papadeas recognizes the care and attention that the books will continue to receive from the Special Collections staff at Randall Library.”
He donated the books following the 50th anniversary celebration of the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), held this past November at Randall Library.
“We’re honored that our celebration inspired Mr. Papadeas to support Randall Library,” said Jim Stasios, AHEPA chapter secretary-treasurer and a UNCW graduate.
Papadeas, born in Athens, Greece, has lived in both Burlington and Kure Beach, N.C., for the past 40 years. An electrical engineer who graduated from Auburn University, he worked on the design and development of government systems with several AT&T organizations and retired from Lucent Technologies after 35 years of service.
He holds a U.S. patent related to the testing of telephone channel filters, and he is the author of several technical papers and a business program management guide. He is also a poet and author and his book, titled “Coming to America: A Memoir, 1938-1958” will be printed for distribution early this year. The Burlington Times-News printed Papadeas’ poem, “Twin Towers,” on Sept. 11, 2011, in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.