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Eagle Archive: Celebrating McDaniel's, and Westminster's connections in Greece

Several McDaniel College students, faculty members and alumni recently gathered to share a meal at Ambrosia, a neighborhood Greek restaurant.

Greek restaurants have a following in Carroll County, as they certainly do in many communities. In fact, many of the owners of restaurants in Westminster, whether they're Greek restaurants or not, came to America from Greece. The late Tula Lefteris and her family owned the City Restaurant and Lefteris Food Market for many years before they retired from the business in the 1980s. The Sharkey family, of Greek descent, owned Sharkey's Cove for 30 years.

The late Tass Samios, a local restaurateur and grocery store owner, was born in Kythera, Greece.

George Dimitrios Sirinakis came from Skyros, a small island in Greece, and married a local girl, Zoe Amprazis. He worked in the family restaurant business — Harry's Lunch, on Main Street — which was started in 1946 by Amprazis' parents, Greek immigrants Harry and Bessie Amprazis, at 54 W. Main St., next to Lefteris' grocery store.

Westminster's Greek heritage extends to McDaniel College. According to local historian Dr. James Lightner, "the College ... taught Greek … and even required some knowledge for entrance. ... Prof. James Reese taught Latin and Greek for 42 years, 1871-1912," said Lightner, the author of a history of McDaniel College, "Fearless and Bold."

Getting back to the Ambrosia, the neighborhood restaurant — it actually takes about a day to get there from here. It's located in Koukaki neighborhood, in southeast Athens, just south of the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

This year, McDaniel College's January term studies in Greece were led by McDaniel classics professor Dr. Tom Falkner and his wife, Rose.

The class focused on ancient Greek governance, art, culture, and religious beliefs and practices; and how they are related to our world today.

"In addition to extensive time and study in Athens, students (traveled) to Corinth, Crete, Delphi, Eleusis, Meteora, Mycenae (and) Olympia," according to an article on McDaniel's website.

But I can speak first hand: My wife, Caroline, a McDaniel graduate, and I took the opportunity to travel with the students, along with McDaniel professor Dr. David Kreider and his wife, JoAnne; and local attorney Patti McDonald and her husband, David.

The trip included many wonderful experiences, such as looking out from your hotel and seeing the Acropolis. Highlights also included visiting the exact place in the marketplace in Corinth where the Apostle Paul spoke the words found in Acts 18; and standing on top of the Areopagus in Athens, next to the Acropolis, where Paul delivered the Sermon on Mars Hill, Acts 17: 22-31.

When he is not trying to remember the difference between Doric, Ionic and Corinthian Greek columns, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached after dinner at kevindayhoff@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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