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CHICAGO, IL: The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation held their 2017 Awards Ceremony and Gala on Saturday, June 17, at the world famous Hilton Chicago for a record attendance of 560 contributors, guest and scholarship recipients. This annual event serves as both an opportunity to recognize the outstanding Greek American students benefited by the monetary assistance of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation and as a fundraiser for this non-profit organization established by the late Chicago businessman and philanthropists Chris Tomaras.
The foundation awarded it’s 2017 Paradigm Award to John Pappajohn of Des Moines, Iowa, one of today’s leaders in investing, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. As one of the early venture capitalists and one of the most charitable Greek Americans in the nation, Mr. Pappajohn’s life and achievements represent the importance of education in reaching one’s dreams. Immigrating with his family from Greece to Mason City, Iowa, when he was nine months old, Mr. Pappajohn strived through the challenges of the passing of his father at 16 years old and of then helping support his mother and siblings financially to finish high school and graduate from the University of Iowa in 1952. After starting in the Insurance industry, he founded Equity Dynamics and Pappajohn Capital Resources. He has since been involved in over one hundred start-ups and over fifty IPO’s, and has served as a Director in over forty public companies. As passionate philanthropists, John Pappajohn and his wife Mary have gifted more than $100 million to various causes. John Pappajohn is a member of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle (Archon), the highest honor bestowed on a Greek Orthodox parishioner by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.
Before the dinner and following a prayer by Metropolis of Chicago Chancellor Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, a moving moment of silence was given for Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, who recently passed away, as past photo of the Foundation’s founder Chris Tomaras and Metropolitan Iakovos was shown on the giant screen. In a statement, the foundation said of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago “His spiritual guidance has had a profound effect on the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation. His Eminence was instrumental in helping Mr Tomaras realize the fullness of the Foundation’s mission. He delighted in celebrating the academic accomplishments of our scholarship recipients.” They further stated “In his thirty-eight years as the Metropolitan of the Metropolis of Chicago, His Eminence left a lasting impression and a rich legacy as our spiritual leader. We were blessed to have the privilege to work alongside him. Thank you for your unwavering love and support to our Founder, our Scholarship Recipients, and our Foundation.”
This year the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation awarded scholarships totaling $250,000 to forty-two exceptional undergraduates of Hellenic descent. The forty-two students from throughout the United States and Greece are attending these prestigious institutions: Princeton University, Loyala University, University of Illinois, Duke University, Stanford University, University of Texas, Kent State University, Purdue University, DePaul University, Indiana University, University of Wisconsin, New York University, Drexel University, University of California, University of Oklahoma, University of Chicago, Smith College, Earlham College, University of Florida, Florida State University, Cornell University, Robert Morris University, Dartmouth College, University of South Carolina, Ohio State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Widener University, Temple University, University of Utah, Georgia Tech, University of Mississippi, University of Akron, and the United States Naval Academy.
2016 Miss America Betty Cantrell served as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening. Born of Greek and German descent and named after her Greek grandmother, Miss Cantrell has been a proud Greek Orthodox parishioner and her faith and the importance it has had on her life was mentioned prominently throughout the Miss America pageant. As a member of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Macon, Georgia, she sang in the choir, chanted, and performed with the Greek dance group during her youth. Now a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, she is pursuing a Country Music career.
The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation is a national non-profit organization that honors and supports exceptional undergraduate students of Hellenic descent. The late Chicago businessman and philanthropists Chris Tomaras established the Foundation in 1998. Through the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation, Mr Tomaras ensured that no deserving Greek American student would have to give up earning their college education due to lack of financial support. Chris Tomaras believed Hellenism and education would build a better America and hoped that the Foundation’s scholarship recipients would become meaningful contributors to society. Including the 2017 recipients, the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation has honored 408 Greek American college students with scholarships totaling $2.75 million. An independent Academic Committee rigorously reviews hundreds of applications and makes the final selection of Award Recipients. More on this outstanding organization can be found on their website at: www.PanHellenicSF.org.
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