As we prepare to celebrate our centennial in Thessaloniki in 2024, it bears reflecting on the years of history that cemented Anatolia’s central role in the development of the city.

When Anatolia College was founded in 1886 in Merzifon, Asia Minor, its goal was to offer a unique educational experience to the local population of mostly Greek and Armenian students. The College also contributed much to the economic viability and social cohesion of the region, cultivating goodwill through its focus on community service and educating the Christian minority on basic labor skills to ease their economic plight.

After a forced eviction from Asia Minor, the College moved to Thessaloniki and finally reopened in 1924 with a class of 13 students, most of whom were refugees. The city was a newly liberated democracy—in many ways, growing up alongside the College. The history of our school is thus inextricably intertwined with the history of the wider region. Despite the challenges that came with acclimating to a new environment, Anatolia College stood firm on its mission: to strive for educational excellence, to shape its students into global citizens and leaders, and to have a significant social impact on the surrounding populace.

Our school has demonstrated immense perseverance through a century of hardship, from the Second World War all the way to the recent economic crisis, from which we are just beginning to emerge. By holding true to our core values, Anatolia College has swelled from 13 students to over 6,000 yearly —not only pushing through temporal challenges, but blossoming into a vibrant, diverse community.

Meanwhile, we have grown to become even more inclusive as an institution over the past century. Today, we provide some substantial amount of financial aid to over one-fourth of our students, making an Anatolian education more accessible to all families irrespective of financial standing, and we engage in numerous outreach programs. Furthermore, Anatolia is a school defined by its cross-cultural orientation, hosting upwards of 1,000 international students and their families annually to meet the evolving needs of the region.

Of course, the College’s success is made possible not only by the support of dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni, and trustees, but major Greek foundations and individual donors who believe in our mission and are committed to making it a reality. The Anatolia family extends beyond the gates of our campus to far-reaching corners of the world and is enriched every year as our graduates enter adulthood as compassionate, engaged citizens.

In recent years, the College’s influence has reached every region of Greece through its youth programs and dissemination of best practices to educators, and it has also stayed active in the international realm. We remain dedicated to honoring and further engaging with our alumni through continuous outreach events, ensuring that the Anatolia family stays tight-knit beyond students’ graduation.

With great pride for our past and hope for our future, I wholeheartedly invite you to join all of us in the Anatolia community in celebrating 100 years of Anatolia College in Thessaloniki!

Dr. Panos Vlachos
President, Anatolia College