The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is pleased to announce that a suite on the second floor of McCredie House has been named in honor of Francis R. Walton. This gift is a tribute to the unwavering commitment of the Gennadius Library Director (1961-1975) in furthering, enriching, and safeguarding the School's library dedicated to post-antiquity.
The dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Thursday, May 25, 2023, to celebrate the naming of the Francis R. Walton Suite. Executive Director George Orfanakos expressed his deep gratitude to the donors of the suite, Rob Loomis, Nicole Perry, and Calypso Gounti. He said that he was most grateful that all three could be present at the dedication, along with Walton’s daughter Sarah Walton Clark, and he and reminded everyone that without their benefaction this naming would not have been possible.
From left to right: Nicole Perry, Rob Loomis, Calypso Gounti, Sarah Walton Clark (daughter)
About Francis R. Walton
Although Frank Walton came to the American School relatively late in his career, he left a lasting mark on the Gennadius Library. He had received his B.A. in Classics from Haverford and his Ph.D. from Harvard. As a professor in several Classics departments, including the University of Chicago and Florida State University (where he served as Chairman from 1952 to 1960), he specialized in ancient Greek religion and the historian Diodorus Siculus.
In 1961, he was appointed Director of the Gennadius Library, and he immediately resolved to make it better known internationally and to increase its already monumental holdings. In 1963, he founded the Friends of the Gennadius Library, donations from whose members enabled him to acquire many rare items that Joannes Gennadius had been forced to sell, including Sibthorp’s Flora Graeca, and he also persuaded the Eli Lilly Foundation to support the purchase of the Heinrich Schliemann papers.
Francis R. Walton, Director of the Gennandius Library, 1970-1976
In 1965, he founded the Library’s bulletin, The Griffon, which increased awareness of the Library in Athens and abroad and resulted in further financial support. In 1968, he published the Catalogue of the Gennadius Library in seven thick folio volumes, with a supplement volume in 1973. He also led the fundraising drive that resulted in the new east and west wings of the Library, incorporating the newly donated Stathatos Macedonian Room.
At his retirement in 1975, he was hailed as “the second founder of the Gennadius Library.” In 1976, he was awarded the Order of the Phoenix by the Greek state in recognition of his contributions to Greek life and culture. Apart from his many contributions to the Gennadeion, Frank and Mary Walton are remembered for their frequent generous hospitality to the students and scholars of the School.
“A noted bibliophile, Francis R. Walton, raised funds to acquire important treasures for the Gennadius Library, such as a handwritten account of the Venetian siege of Athens in 1687 and Sibthorp’s magnificent Flora Graeca, a precious 10-volume ‘bible’ on the indigenous flora of Greece, which Joannes Gennadius was forced to sell in 1895,” said Director of the Gennadius Library Dr. Maria Georgopoulou. “It was also thanks to his inspired leadership that Nobel poet laureate George Seferis decided to bequeath his manuscripts and personal papers to the Library.”
Sarah Walton Clark said, “My father would be quite honored and humbled for being recognized in this manner. He also would be extremely fascinated with all the new technology the School is using to conduct its extensive research and excavations.”
About the Loring Hall Campaign
The Campaign was launched in October 2018 to raise funds for renovating and expanding the three aging buildings that have served as the intellectual and residential heart of the American School: Loring Hall, the Annex, and McCredie House. The Loring Hall buildings remain where School community members gather for meals, tea, ouzo hour, holiday celebrations, and lectures—a source of lifelong professional and personal relationships that characterize the school's collegial and intellectually vibrant atmosphere. This modernized setting enhances that experience and will meet the School community’s needs well into the future.
Support the Loring Hall Campaign
The goal of the Loring Hall campaign is $10.2 million, including a maintenance endowment. Thanks to generous supporters of this historic initiative, more than $8.6 million has been raised to date. The newly renovated and expanded buildings were dedicated on Saturday, June 4, 2022, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception for the School community.
To learn more about how you can support this historic initiative, please contact Nancy Savaides, Director of Stewardship and Engagement, at email@example.com or 609-454-6810. Naming opportunities for various spaces in the Loring Hall buildings are still available. Donors can choose from multiple gift levels to name a room or area in honor of themselves, an American School scholar, or a family member, friend, or group.