Chair of Greek Revived at Glasgow

From the Scotsman:

WHEN the unassuming Professor Douglas MacDowell retired in 2001, the chair of Greek at Glasgow University he occupied fell victim to cost-cutting and was left unfilled.

Few at the university thought they would hear more about it. The professor seemed set for a modest retirement. He lived in a £100,000 flat in the city’s Byers Road and drove a hatchback valued at less than £1,300. His furniture and personal belongings were valued at just £2,767 when he died in 2010 aged 78. Now he has sprung a surprise, donating more than £2 million from a portfolio of stocks and shares to revive the chair of Greek.

Clearly he had not been investing any of his savings in Greek government bonds. Indeed, many at the university might feel this generous donation may be put to better use establishing a chair of portfolio risk management: the lecture theatre would be packed to capacity. It is easy to dismiss ancient Greek as a dead and irrelevant language in the modern world, less easy to cast aside the linguistic insights it provided and the discipline of thought it imposed. Now the professor has had the last laugh, teaching an invaluable lesson, not only to his former university but to a modern financial world that clearly lost its senses. Who dares say now modern Greek wisdom is superior to ancient?


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