Founding and Development
The history of our School begins in 1875 in Smyrna in Asia Minor.
Mary West, commissioned by the American Board of Commissioners, renovated a derelict mansion, wrote on the door “The American School for Girls” and one morning in 1875 she opened the doors and waited anxiously for her first students.
The liberation of women from the slavery of illiteracy was the ideal she dreamed of making a reality at the School in Smyrna. The Choir, the Bazaar, the theatrical performances and the celebration of Thanksgiving all started at the School in Smyrna
The character of the College is better expressed in the motto “Non ministrari sed ministrare,” that is, to serve and not to be served, which remains a constant ideal and aim throughout our history.
The tragic fate of Hellenism could not leave our School unaffected. Following the catastrophe of Smyrna, the next place was Palaio Faliro and the start of operations on October 15, 1923. The new name of the School was “Junior College for Girls” and the first students were 89 refugees from Smyrna, Armenian girls, Greek girls and one American girl. In 1927 the pioneering institution, the Student Council, was initiated.
In 1932 the School’s new buildings was opened in Helleniko, on a property granted by the Greek government in appreciation for the quality of its educational work.
In 1936 the College acquired the name that has remained to this day, Pierce, in honor of the memory of Orlinda Childs Pierce, wife of the great donor to the College, William Pierce.
Throughout the Greek-Italian war, the College was used as a military hospital, and during the German occupation, members of the faculty founded the “School for Girls” on Mavromichali Street. Thus, the College continued its work.
After the liberation in 1946, our School opened its doors again under the name “American College for Girls.” In 1963 the Greek state recognized it as equivalent with the public State schools, in appreciation of the work of the College.
In 1965 the College left Helleniko and moved to the slopes of Hymettus in Agia Paraskevi, where an ultramodern complex was built.
In 1973, the new president, John S. Bailey, assumed the responsibility for continuing the history of growth and recognition. In 1984 the College admitted the first boys.
Over the following years, there were important distinctions from the Academy of Athens, the Estia of Nea Smyrni, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the City of Athens and the Women’s Union of Greece.
In addition, on the site of the College there were important works, such as the School Museum, the Olympic-size swimming pool, the Temple of the Three Hierarchs, the Dramatic Arts Theater and the Open Air Theater.
Since 2008 the president of the American College of Greece has been Dr. David G. Horner, who has continued in the efforts to establish the College as the greatest educational Institution in Greece.
From the foothill of Hymettus, the College, with the experience of its long history and its contribution to Greek society and education, looks optimistically to the future. It moves into the 21st century maintaining its institutions and its traditions, the goals and aims it set as ideals, with integrity, without overlooking the events and the demands of the modern age.