During a trip to Greece for the Center for Hellenic Studies, Georgia State University professor Louis A. Ruprecht Jr. got news that he had been named the 2022 recipient of the Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement. At that moment, Ruprecht said he felt his career had come full circle.
The award is given to a Georgia State University faculty member who has an exemplary and long-standing record of achievement in teaching, research or public service in the international arena.
“I’m very grateful for the recognition and grateful that the work we’ve been doing is being recognized,” said Ruprecht, who is director of the Center for Hellenic Studies at Georgia State.
More than 30 years ago, Ruprecht traveled to Greece for the first time with the help of the American School for Classical Studies for his graduate degree studies. Now, he helps students understand the importance of studying abroad and encourages them to take advantage of travel abroad opportunities at Georgia State.
“Most of us who are teaching have a fundamental need to pay it forward,” Ruprecht said “In my case, I had some transformative study abroad experiences, all organized by professors of mine. Those experiences were absolutely life changing.”
Ruprecht, who joined Georgia State in 2005, was appointed director of the Center for Hellenic Studies in 2012. The Center was created by a gift from the American Hellenic Foundation and the Greek government to establish a space for students and the broader public to study Greek art, archaeology, culture and history, while also creating partnerships with academic programs and Hellenic cultural organizations both in the United States and abroad.
Anthropology professor Kathryn Kozaitis, who wrote a letter to support Ruprecht’s nomination, said he has shown a commitment to interdisciplinary research and to international programing for both the university and broader Atlanta communities.
“His service contributions to the internationalization of Georgia State University, and to a wide variety of institutions abroad, distinguish him as an international scholar and a global citizen,” said Kozaitis, who also conducts research in Greece.
Ruprecht is also the inaugural holder of the William M. Suttles Chair in Religious Studies. Over the years, he has traveled the globe to support his research efforts, and has been invited to lecture in Australia, Austria, China, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Spain, Taiwan and Vatican City, where he has been a Research Fellow at the Vatican Library and the Vatican Secret Archives since 2007. The Vatican Museum hosted an exhibition based on his research in 2019. He has also offered invited seminars at the Ionian University on Corfu and Ca’ Foscari in Venice.
Ruprecht, along with seven other Georgia State faculty, staff and students, will be recognized at an International Education Awards ceremony in November during International Education Week.