Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou awarded University of Missouri–St. Louis Professor Michael Cosmopoulos the presidential medal of the Gold Cross of the Order of the Phoenix during a special ceremony on Friday in Athens, Greece.
Cosmopoulos, the Hellenic Government-Karakas Family Foundation Professor in Greek Studies and Professor of Archaeology, was one of four honorees recognized for contributions in the fields of politics, science or the arts. Margaritis Schoinas, vice president of the European Commission, was recognized as Senior Brigadier General of the Order of the Savior. Vassilios Theocharakis, a businessman, painter and president of the Vassilis and Marina Theocharakis Foundation for Fine Arts and Music, was honored as Senior Brigadier of the Order of the Phoenix. Constantinos Daskalakis, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received the of the Gold Cross of the Order of the Savior.
“It is a recognition of their work, value and ethos, both in our country and internationally, which are an example and make us proud,” Sakellaropoulou said in a statement released after the ceremony.
The Order of the Phoenix was established in 1926 and honors Greek citizens who have excelled in the arts and literature, science, public administration, shipping, commerce and industry.
Cosmopoulos received the medal in recognition of his work as an archaeologist, most notably directing the the Iklaina Archaeological Project under the auspices of the Archaeological Society at Athens and funded through UMSL’s Greek professorship as well as through major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society. He also was commended for what he he’s done as an educator, teaching Greek studies in North America – first at the University of Manitoba and for the past 21 years at UMSL.
Earlier this year, Cosmopoulos was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He had previously been elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Royal Society of Canada and is a corresponding member of the Academy of Athens.