University of Glasgow revives Chair of Greek with £2.4m bequest

Issued: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 08:54:00 GMT

The University of Glasgow is set to revive a professorship dormant for more than a decade after receiving a bequest of over £2m from the last academic to hold the position.

Professor Douglas Maurice MacDowell held the University’s Chair of Greek between 1971 and 2001. After his death in January 2010 at the age of 78, Prof MacDowell’s will stated that his portfolio of stock and shares, valued today at around £2.4m, be used to re-establish the Chair of Greek at the University.

Applications for the position will be advertised in spring 2012 and the University expects to have appointed to a new Chair in time for the beginning of the new academic year in September 2012. 

Matthew Fox, Professor of Classics at the University of Glasgow, said: “Professor MacDowell had a huge influence on the teaching and understanding of Greek during his time in the role.

“Although the study of Greek has lessened in popularity over the last 40 years or so, we’ve seen a renewed interest in the subject from students in the last few years and the appointment to a new Chair will allow the University to strengthen its excellent reputation for Greek.

“The call for applications for the Chair will go out far and wide and we’re confident we’ll be able to attract a candidate who will help to develop the teaching and study of Greek at the University in a manner which befits Professor MacDowell’s legacy.”

Professor MacDowell was the 13th Professor of Greek at the University since the position was founded in 1704. Born in 1931, he studied at Balliol College, Oxford and made his mark on the study of Greek at the University of Manchester before moving to Glasgow.

He introduced first-year classes in Greek Language which offered students the chance to learn from scratch, and Greek Civilisation, which taught Greek literature, history, philosophy and art in the English language for the first time. During his tenure of the Chair he also published many definitive studies of Greek comedy and Athenian oratory and law.

Professor Alexander Garvie, a colleague of Professor MacDowell and one of the executors of his will, said: “Douglas was a tremendous scholar and took great pride in his accomplishments at the University of Glasgow. His bequest is a reflection of the strong connection he felt to the University and his desire to ensure that it remained a centre of excellence for the teaching and study of Greek.

“The bequest is the final act of generosity in a life which was spent supporting study of the subject. Several impoverished students benefited from anonymous grants from Douglas to allow them to continue their studies while he held the Chair, and the gift of his wealth is perfectly in keeping with his character.”




For more information contact Ross Barker in the University of Glasgow Media Relations Office on 0141 330 8593 or email


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