Ernest Riggs, a seasoned missionary educator, became the fourth president of Anatolia College in 1933. His tenure, however, was marked by significant challenges. World War II forced Anatolia’s closure from 1940 to 1945.
Despite inheriting the successes of Anatolia’s first decade in Thessaloniki, Riggs faced a daunting task. The new facilities lacked proper equipment, and a deepening recession hampered fundraising and development. Nevertheless, his experience and enthusiasm proved invaluable in securing resources for the growing school.
With the outbreak of war, Riggs prioritized the safety of students, ensuring their return home. He also offered the school’s main buildings as a convalescent hospital for soldiers. Following the German invasion in 1941, Riggs and his wife, Alice, returned to the United States.
Undeterred, they tirelessly campaigned from their Massachusetts home, raising funds to restore Anatolia and aid war-torn Greece. In 1945, shortly before his 60th birthday, Riggs returned to Thessaloniki to oversee the Anatolia’s re-establishment, which officially reopened in October of that year. His presidency concluded in 1950, with the final five years marked by tireless efforts to rebuild Anatolia, supported by his unwavering wife, Alice.

Anna Betrosian-Filizian

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