Speech given by Retired Hellenic Navy Captain Nikolaos Spiliotis, Vice President of The Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of Philadelphia & Greater Delaware Valley
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Your Eminence, distinguished dignitaries and guests, esteemed ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honor and pleasure for me today, as Vice President of the Federation to address a prominent member of the Greek Omogeneia, Dr. Spiridon Spireas. Please allow me to make a brief reference to his resume.
Dr. Spiridon Spireas is of Peloponnesian descent, the very place where the spark of the Revolution ignited. His origins are from Mani, though born and raised in Kalamata. He graduated from the 1st High School of Kalamata, whence he continued his studies at the Pharmaceutical School of the University of Athens. Upon his graduation, he was confronted with the dilemma that most University graduates are faced with: “Do I enter the labor market immediately or continue onto higher education?” Fortunately for all of us, he chose the latter.
Thus, in 1985 he found himself in the United States where he obtained his Master’s degree and a Doctorate (Ph.D.) degree in Pharmaceutics and Industrial Pharmacy from St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY.
After the completion of his studies, he became a Professor of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Technology at the Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy of Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY. Furthermore, he continued to escalate in his career to higher managerial and directorial positions, in charge of the pharmaceutical technology, research and development departments in a small pharmaceutical company which, thanks to his hard work and inventions, he managed to flourish.
But who is Dr. Spireas today?
He is a self-accomplished entrepreneur. He is the founder, owner and CEO of Sigmapharm Laboratories LLC, a rapidly growing pharmaceutical company based in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Sigmapharm engages in the development, production and marketing of pharmaceutical products.
He is the inventor and author of more than 100 international and domestic patents and patent applications, and more than 200 scientific papers, books, and other publications in the fields of industrial pharmacy, pharmaceutical technology, biopharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics and analytical chemistry.
He is the President of American Hellenic Institute Foundation, which constitutes as a “think tank” with the mission of thoroughly studying issues that the Hellenic-American Community deals with.
He is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, installed by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He is also a member of the Metropolitan Council of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey and a Parish Council member of the St. George Greek Orthodox Church at Trenton, New Jersey where he also served as president for four years.
Finally, he is a member of AHEPA and a constant supporter of various Hellenic-American organizations, functions and media.
Dr. Spireas is married to Dr. Amalia Kasapidi Spirea and they have two children; Sotiri, who is following in his father’s footsteps by studying Pharmacy; and Mary, a high-school student.
Certainly, this impressive resume says a lot about Dr. Spireas, a person that everybody only has nice words to describe him with. However, this resume does not tell us much about the man behind the scenes.
Spiro, as his friends call him, is a brilliant and hardworking man with vision, faith and loyalty looking forward to a dynamic omogeneia that would possess a substantial reason of existence (raison d’être), able to assist the mother land during times of hardship. In my humble opinion and speaking out of personal experience I firmly believe that the man Spireas symbolizes the man that the great philosopher Aristotle describes in one of his famous works, “Ethics”, as the “magnificent” man, that is, the one who is actively partaking in community service, motivated by the desire to be beneficial to his fellow-man, the one that is involved to widely beneficent activities at his own expense.
No one could ever trace selfishness in his actions. His motives derive from his will to beneficence, philanthropy, benefaction to the Country as well as to the fellow human being, love to both his mother land and his new homeland, deep faith in God, respect to the Church and consistency to the principles of the Holy Gospel, by which he was nurtured and which comprise an integral part of his soul. His benevolence is distinctive and comes straight out of his heart without seeking temporary and vain fame. And, as the Apostle Paul preaches in his letter to the Corinthians, “God loves a cheerful giver”. It is certain that this was enough for Dr. Spireas to earn the Almighty’s love.
Last Saturday in Washington DC, with your duty as President of the AHI Foundation, I watched you honoring the Greek expatriates and philhellenes for their contributions and efforts in the Hellenic-American Community.
It is your turn today to find yourself as the honoree. Today you are being honored by the Federation of the Hellenic-American Communities of Philadelphia and the Greater Delaware Valley with the Medal of “Eleftheria” (=Freedom) in recognition of your unconditional support and contribution to the Omogeneia. Today your support of Hellenism and its results are being honored. This award is for your exemplary devotion to our mother land and your patriotism.
Your work constitutes a soul deposition, and knowing you personally I am convinced that this is still in progress. You are the kind of man that doesn’t sleep without worries. You are concerned about creating and reaching new achievements, worried about the promotion of the matters of Hellenism, anxious about the perpetuation of the Greek-Orthodox civilization, spirit and language.
In conclusion, I would like to dedicate to you three verses from a poem of our countryman Constantinos Kavafis, which encloses our sentiments towards you:
When the Greeks shall want to boast,
“Those are the men our nation nourishes” they will be saying about you.
That magnificent your commendation shall be!
Congratulations for today’s award and from the bottom of my heart I wish you fair winds to your life, health, family happiness and every success in the continuation of your work!
Thank you and please come forth for the bestowal.