Mystery gift to Greek studies

La Trobe University has been named the sole beneficiary of $1.3mil estate from the Estate of Mr Anastassios Vassilogianis.

The endowment is to be held in trust by the State Trustees Australia Foundation. La Trobe University has received the first dividend from the trust valued at over $35,000, with further dividends to be paid annually and in perpetuity.

Mr Vassilogianis named La Trobe University in his will, instructing that the income from his estate (managed by State Trustees Australia Foundation) be directed to the Department of Hellenic Studies in perpetuity with dividends distributed on an annual basis.

Little is known about Anastassios.  He was not a graduate of La Trobe and no records exist of a former staff member of that name, however La Trobe is well known in the local Greek community for its ongoing contribution and commitment to Hellenic Studies.

Anastassios was born in Hassokelana Greece and migrated to Australia, probably around age 26. He lived in Australia for the remainder of his life, and had no known living relatives.

He lived in Fitzroy at the time he wrote his will in June 2010. Sometime after that he moved to Sumner House, an aged care service facility in Fitzroy, managed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence.  He passed away there on 10 November 2011 at the age of 81.  His care staff were unable to provide any information on Anastassios' life and did not have any photographs of him.

Director of Alumni and Advancement at La Trobe University, Dr Alan Watkinson said the University was delighted and humbled by this unexpected but welcome gift.  "From time to time we do receive these unexpected gifts, however, this one is perhaps the most mysterious given Anastassios had no known connection to La Trobe, no known family and not even a photograph exists of him.  We are most grateful for his gift, which will help ensure our highly-regarded Hellenic Studies program continues to lead understanding of Greek language, culture and history in Australia."

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