Former U professor, prime minister dies

Joel Sawyer

Former Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, a University professor in the 1940s and ’50s, died Sunday of heart failure at his home in suburban Athens.
Papandreou, 77, taught economics at the University as an associate professor from 1947 until 1955, except for one year at Northwestern University. Before coming to Minnesota, he taught briefly at Harvard University following his discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1946.
Arthur Naftalin, a former University political science professor and Minneapolis mayor, told the Star Tribune that Papandreou was highly regarded at the University. He was “an unusually charming fellow, very bright, well-known on campus, very Americanized,” Naftalin said.
While at the University, Papandreou was interested in American politics and helped organize Adlai Stevenson’s 1952 presidential campaign in Minnesota. He also met his second wife at the University in 1948. Margaret Chant, a 25-year-old journalism student when she met Papandreou, was married to him from 1951 until their divorce in 1989.
Papandreou left Minnesota for the University of California at Berkeley, where he served as the chairman of the Economics Department until 1963.
Papandreou, who left Greece in 1938 for political reasons, returned to his home country after more than 20 years of U.S. citizenship in 1963. He renounced his U.S. citizenship and served as a minister in the centrist government of his father, George Papandreou, until 1967 when the government was trampled by a military coup.
Andreas Papandreou was exiled but returned in 1974 to help restore democracy to Greece. He founded the Panhellenic Socialist Movement in 1974 and led it to electoral victory in 1981. Papandreou served as Greece’s first Socialist prime minister until 1989.
Papandreou regained power in 1993 and served as prime minister until ill health forced him to resign in January of 1996.
During his years as prime minister, Papandreou largely failed in his attempts to make Greece a modern social democratic state and an influential player in international politics. Critics say his policies have left Greece a lasting legacy of deficits and debt.
Although he had lived in the United States, Papandreou was well known for his anti-American rhetoric. He irritated other Western nations by maintaining friendships with leaders such as Libya’s Col. Moammar Gadhafi and was accused of being soft on terrorism by the United States.