St. Davids, PA – Fifteen graduate and undergraduate scholarships totaling more than $44,000 were presented last night at the annual Hellenic University Club of Philadelphia Scholarship Awards Banquet – more than any other Hellenic organization in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The scholarships are awarded in the areas of law, dentistry, education, medicine, engineering and classical studies. They range from $1,500 to $5,000.
Guest speaker Dr. Constantine Harris, also a past scholarship winner, opened the evening with a speech and video presentation. Dr. Harris, who together with his brothers Basil and George, recently won the X-Prize for their medical Tricorder device, inspired by the Tricorder from the original Star Trek television series.
“Tonight is the proudest night and event that we can say we host throughout the calendar year. It is the night we get to see the fruits of our labor”, said Katerina Dimitriadis, HUC Board President. Each student who received a scholarship also shared some part of their lives at the podium during their speech. It brought on a great sense of pride and unity during the evening as guests, family members and HUC members looked on.
Many students reflected on only how the funds would be used and how grateful they were as they read their speeches from their cell phones. They were introduced by emcee and host, Peter A. Chrisanthopoulos, Scholarship Awards Committee Chairman. Except for one, the scholarships are awarded annually to students of Greek descent. The John S. Vodantis Memorial Scholarship scholarship can be awarded to any qualifying student pursuing Classical Studies, Classical Archeology, and Ancient History. “That’s our way of recognizing the Philhellenes that are not Greek but are learning or promoting the Greek language. By doing so, they sometimes serve as an example to us Hellenes, by emphasizing however much we know, we need to know more about our culture”, said Chrisanthopoulos.
To date, $710,000 has been awarded in scholarships by the Hellenic University Club of Philadelphia. A milestone for any community-based organization. The first scholarship was awarded in 1939 and since 1971, when the current Scholarship Program was established, there have been 327 recipients. And now 81 years later, the organization is working on another milestone, a capital campaign with a one million dollar goal. The funds would go towards expanding the current scholarship totals. With a long history, dedicated members, and sense of pride exhibited last night, this lofty goal seems well within reach.