Graduate student scholarship honors leader in comparative education

Andreas Kazamias among founders of Department of Educational Policy Studies


By Sarah Fuelleman


“Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you’re destined for.

But don’t hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you’re old by the time you reach the island.”

— Excerpts from “Ithaka,” by C.P. Cavafy, translated by Edmund Kelley and Philip Sherrard


Andreas Kazamias is among the world’s leading experts in comparative humanistic education.

He’s 95 years old this year and has followed the advice in a favorite poem, “Ithaka” by C.P. Cavafy, to make the most of his life’s journey.

To honor and celebrate Kazamias’ remarkable career and life journey, three anonymous donors created a graduate student scholarship through the Department of Educational Policy Studies (EPS) — which Kazamias helped found — in his honor. The donors prefer to remain anonymous to celebrate Kazamias instead of their gifts.


“He is a lion in the field of comparative education and one of the pillars in the development of the field in the United States,” says Adam Nelson, the School of Education’s senior associate dean for academic programs and a professor in EPS.

“He taught me how to advise students and support them through dissertation defenses,” says Nancy Kendall, a professor who joined EPS when Kazamias retired in 2005. “He offered so many pieces of advice for living a good life.”

Although Kazamias retired many years ago, he has stayed connected to the department he helped build, as well as to the community of comparative education researchers nationally and internationally. His field centers on the comparison of past and present educational theory and practice across countries. His aim is to broaden and deepen our understanding of educational problems beyond the boundaries of any one country. The concept is to recognize what is unique, but also what is shared, among societies and their schools. His particular contribution is to bring strong historical and humanistic perspectives to his field.

Kazamias often spent half the year teaching at UW– Madison and half teaching at the University of Athens in Greece. He notes that he made sure he was always in Wisconsin for the football season, because he loves the Badgers and Green Bay Packers.

As a teacher, Kazamias was known for bringing history to life — literally — as he led discussions in the persona of Socrates and presented students with the classic tensions of “Agamemnon contra Prometheus.”

“He had all of these incredible educational experiences,” says Lesley Bartlett, a professor and chair of EPS. “He started in Greece, then earned scholarships to study history and classics in the United Kingdom. He has traveled to Fort Hays State University in Kansas and earned his PhD at Harvard University. It’s remarkable.”

Even at 95, an age he does not shirk from, Kazamias says he can still dance like Zorba the Greek — as he once did on tables during an international conference years ago.

As a mentor, a friend, and one of the founders of the Department of Educational Policy Studies, Kazamias has led and encouraged younger faculty members as they have developed their thinking.

The donors and others celebrate the man and his career by helping support future graduate students studying international and comparative education.

“The graduate students doing this work are world class,” Nelson says. “They do cutting-edge research on education around the world, and they need all the financial support they can get. This award represents the perfect match of a scholar whose work blended those fields and the opportunity to support his legacy.”

To support this scholarship visit:

Pin It on Pinterest