Faculty and Staff

SFU mourns loss of Hellenic Studies professor André Gerolymatos

June 10, 2019

Simon Fraser University is mourning the loss of history professor André Gerolymatos, who passed away last week following a year-long battle with cancer.

Gerolymatos joined SFU in 1996 as the inaugural holder of the Hellenic Canadian Congress of B.C. Chair in Hellenic Studies. Even then it was clear he would not be content to sit quietly in his office and write books.

From the beginning, Gerolymatos dedicated himself to expanding the study of Greece’s language, history and culture. After raising his first grant for a conference from the Republic of Cyprus during his first year at SFU, he never looked back. Over the next 22 years he raised millions from governments, NGOs and individuals who embraced his vision of a vibrant and engaged Hellenic Studies presence at the university and in the broader community.

One of his most valued partners has been the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), with whose support Gerolymatos launched the world’s first online language-learning platform for the modern Greek language. The trust that Gerolymatos built with the SNF eventually led to a $7-million endowment that created the thriving SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU.

Many people will recognize Gerolymatos most for his frequent appearances in the news, where he shared his expertise  in international affairs. His insight was often a calming influence following terrorist attacks.

His service to the community, in the academy and beyond, led to the HRH Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Service to Canada (2012). In 2011  he was made an Officer (Gold Cross) of the Order of the Phoenix in recognition of his contributions to Greek culture.

SFUPresident and Vice-Chancellor Andrew Petter speaks for many in the SFU community when he says:

“André was a valued friend and colleague who exemplified service to the academy and the community. Through his vision and leadership, he established a vibrant and lasting Hellenic Studies presence at SFU, earning the support and engagement of many partners. His commitment to teaching and research, his passion for Hellenic culture and current affairs, and his knowledge of global security issues, were admired and respected locally, nationally and internationally. For all of this and more, his presence at SFU was deeply felt, and he will be greatly missed."