Illini Everywhere: Cypriot Illini, Since 1935

Since at least 1935, Cypriot students have been attending the University of Illinois. Cypriot Illini have included accountants, architects, biochemists, business administrators, civil engineers, computer scientists, electrical engineers, horticulturalists, lawyers, mathematicians, mechanical engineers, plant, soccer players, and student leaders too.

Read on to learn more about early Cypriot Illini!

Early Illinois – Cyprus Connections

In 1926, the Classical Museum acquired eight Cypriot artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of New York, including vases and a limestone statuette. As early as 1941, Lieutenant Menico N. Menicon, of Famagusta, Cyprus, visited campus and he gave a talk titled “Greece’s Fight for the American Way” at a Committee to Defend American by Aiding the Allies chapter meeting. In the University Archives, the Paul B. Anderson Papers (Record Series 15/35/54) also include correspondence from Patriarch of Constantinople Athenagoras I which include discussion of Cypriots, Greeks, and Turks, during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1962, Agricultural Law Professor Norman G. P. Krausz took a leave of absence to study water problems and to draft legislation for use, conservation, and control of water on Cyprus. [1] From 1949 until 1967, alumna Ruth Caroline Kruger (Record Series 26/20/133) worked as a librarian for the U.S. Information Agency and her letters document her experiences traveling the world, including Cyprus in 1963 and 1964.

In 1965, Cypriot Ambassador to the United Nations Mr. Zenon Rossides was the invited guest speaker for the Greek Independence Day banquet organized by Greek students. The following year, in 1966, for the student Model U.N. Assembly meeting, Mr. Zenon Rossides was invited to speak again. In 1969, former British Governor of Cyprus Lord Cardon gave a talk titled “The Dangers and the Hopes at The United Nations”. In 1974, off campus, alumni and local residents collected money and donations through the organization of Cyprus Refugee Relief Aid.

Not long later, from at least 1971-1986, the international work of Political Science Professor Clarence A. Berdahl (Record Series 15/18/22) included Cyprus too.  Of course, as recent as 2016, through the National Center for Super Computing Applications (Record Groups 7-5) and the Cyprus Institute, the University of Illinois and Cyprus would enter a partnership including the funding of postdoctoral positions.


Future Cypriot Agriculture Minister Panagiottis Gennadius

Panagiottis Gennadius (B.S. Agriculture, 1878), from Athens, Greece, was the first Greek graduate of the University of Illinois. [2] As a student, Mr. Gennadius was both a research assistant and a University French instructor (1873-1875). [3] After completing his degree with the thesis “Nitrous Acid in Plants”, Mr. Gennadius returned to Athens where he published prolific research into agricultural pests and other issues in agriculture. In time, he was known for his monumental botanical lexicon “A Dictionary of the Plants of Greece”. [4] Mr. Gennadius also taught natural history in Athenian high schools. Later, Mr. Gennadius left academia for work in government administration in Cyprus. Towards the end of his life, he bequeathed his personal library of 3,300 books to the National Library of Greece.

Cypriot Illini

Undergraduate. Soccer Player. Cypriot. Savvas Nicholas. Like Mr. Grennadius, Savvas Nicholas was also involved with French language studying on campus, as the French Club president in 1932. When not studying, Mr. Nicholas was a valuable team player. In November 1935, Mr. Nicholas kicked the winning goal, during the last minute of play of the second period of overtime, the Daily Illini reported. Unfortunately, the following month, at the post-season soccer banquet, the soccer team and program faced disbandment.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, a variety of student organized events involved discussing national and international policies of Cyprus. During the middle 1950s, as many Cypriots in Cyprus debated the conditions of Cypriot independence, locally, Mr. Andy A. Louchios (B.S. Management, 1957) and another student summarized two competing viewpoints for Cypriot independence at a meeting of the student organization Little UN. Mr. Louchios was also a member of the recently reorganized Illinois IUSA soccer team in 1956. In 1964, the Association of International Students sponsored a campus debate on the political situation Cyprus. Later, a series of Daily Illini editorials document the personal opinions of non-Cypriot students concerning the politics of Cyprus too, with some examples including (February 28, 1964), (April 9, 1965), (April 14, 1965), (April 16, 1965), and (April 29, 1965).

Of course there were graduate students too. Some early Cypriot Illini graduate students have included Mr. Anastasios Michael Ioannides, (PhD Civil Engineering, 1984), Mr. Socratis Tornaritis, (B.S. Civil Engineering, 1985; M.S. Civil Engineering, 1986), Mr. Ioannis Michael Ioannides, (M.S. Horticulture, 1989; PhD Horticulture, 1994), Ms. Hara Charalambous, (PhD Mathematics, 1990), Mr. Michalis Syrimis, (M.S. Mechanical Engineering, 1992; PhD Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, 1996), Mr. Georgios Dimitriou, (M.S. Electrical Engineering, 1994; PhD Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2000), and Mr. Soteris Demetriou (M.S. Computer Science, 2014).


Cypriot Student Organization (1982-1990)

In 1982, the Cypriot Student Organization (CSO) formed as a resource for Cypriot students and as a means for Cypriot students to advocate for campus awareness of Cyprus on campus. So far, at least two publications from the CSO have been identified. Both CSO publications include student essays on Cypriot culture, history, and international politics, as well as student art.

Although Cypriot Illini documentation is limited after the 1990s, student enrollment figures document a steady Cypriot Illini enrollment which has continued almost without interruption since 1977 and hopefully for much longer too.

Are you a Cypriot Illini? Do you know someone who is? We’d like to hear from you! Please send us a message or leave a comment below. We want to include you and your story, as we celebrate the first 150 years of the University of Illinois.

Happy First 150 everyone!


[] As always, a special thank you to all students and staff whose tireless work for student life and publications (many of which are available at the University Archives) help preserve the memories of Illini everywhere.

[1] Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, February 21, 1962, page 1343, Record Series 1/1/802.

[2] “Panagiottis Gennadius ’74 Now Greek Minister at Crete”, Daily Illini, March 23, 1915, page 4. Mr. Gennadius was born into an exceptional family in Athens. For example, he was also the younger brother of Greek diplomat Johannes “John” Gennadius [Ιωάννης Γεννάδιος]. For J. Gennadius’ personal papers, please see: the Archives of the Gennadius Library.

[3] Report of the Board of Trustees, October 2, 1872, page 137.

[4] The Daily Illini reported that a copy was donated to the University of Illinois Library. The complete title in Modern Greek is “Λεξικόν φυτολογικόν, περιλαμβάνον τα ονόματα, την ιθαγένειαν και τον βίον υπερδεκακισχιλίων φυτών”. See: “Panagiottis Gennadius ’74 Now Greek Minister at Crete”, Daily Illini, March 23, 1915, page 4.

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