A few months ago the neoclassical building of Athens University on the corner of Academias and Sina Streets was opened to the public. The entire work of its restoration was commissioned to the member of Athens Academy, Professor Solon Kydoniatis by the University Senate. After the decision of the University Rector, the building was dedicated to the great poet Kostis Palamas. Although the homage and respect owed to the memory of our national poet is undeniable, it could be probably a better idea for this building to preserve the name of its founder. Gregorios G. Papadopoulos. Gregorios Papadopoulos (1818-1873), an eminent personality in the field of education, completed his studies in France and came to Greece in 1844 after an invitation by A. Mavrokordatos. He was appointed teacher in the Gymnasium of Athens, while at the same time he lectured on Art History at the Athens Polytechnic. He had already become a member of the Archaeological Society of Rome and the Academy of History and Archaeology of South Russia. He sojourned in Patras for a short period of time in order to organize there the local highschool. After his return to Athens he founded in 1849 the “Greek Institute”, while at the same time he kept up with his lectures in Athens Polytechnic. A founding member of the “Association for the Expansion of the Greek Letters” he also contributed to the institution of the National Conservatory and the organization of the Olympic Games of 1870. He was especially concerned with the education of the Greek woman, therefore he took the initiative for the institution of the “Association of Greek Women” and the “Workshop of the Indigent Women”. The improvement of the curriculum at the Teachers’ College, Arsakeion, Polytechnic, Greek Parthenagogeion. Amaleion and the Chatzikosta Orpanage was the product of his mind. In 1870 Papadopoulos was appointed head of a department tn the Ministry of External Affairs and a little later he left for Thessaloniki in order to coordinate there the consuls of Macedonia and Thrace. His positive role and contribution to this period so important to Northern Greece, was substantial. Being in Thessaloniki, he suffered a severe attack of bronchitis and died in 1873.
The Greek Institute (1849-1870) was the first edifice built in Athens, since the foundation of the Greek State, with the sole purpose of housing an educational institution. The two highschools in Athens were housed in rented buildings. The Varvakeion highschool, designed by the architect P. Kalkos, was founded one year later than the Greek Institute, in 1857, and was finished in 1859. All over Greece the highschools were housed in rented buildings with the single exception of the Hermoupolis highschool, on Syros island, built in 1834 according to the plans of the architect Erlacher. Therefore, the architect responsible for the plans of the Greek Institute did not have any existing model to follow. The layout and organization of the plan, section and facade of the Institute point out clearly that their designer was a civil engineer. Thus, we can accept as valid the information supplied by Th. Dragoumis that Stamatis Kleanthis was the creator of this building.