Washington, D.C.- A scholarship in the memory of Stelios Petroulas has been established by the National Educational Foundation of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the largest and oldest American-based Greek heritage grassroots membership organization, announced Supreme President Franklin R. Manios and Foundation Chairman Dr. Michael Syropoulos. The Stelios Petroulas Scholarship is a result of a donation of $500,000 by his children.
“We are extremely grateful to the family of Stelios Petroulas for the generous donation in his name to the Foundation,” Manios said. “Through his memory, we will be able to fulfill the academic dreams of deserving scholars, enabling us to meet our commitment to our youth and to our mission.”
According to family members, Petroulas was the first person from his extended family to pursue higher education, passing the entry examination for the Law School of the University of Athens. Unfortunately because Petroulas’ family could not afford to cover his expenses, he had to quit his studies to work in the public sector to support himself. His career, and to a certain degree his life, was marked by the fact that he was unable to pursue a university degree.
“I cannot think of a better way to cherish the memory of our father than the hope that this donation might help even one person who lacks the financial means to pursue her or his dream of higher education,” said Theodore Petroulas, who resides in New York. “And I also think that you cannot help anybody unless they are willing to help themselves. This scholarship will provide some financial support, but the students have to be eager to work for their dream.”
Stelios Petroulas was passionate about education and he made it a top priority for his children: Christos, Theodore and Marina. He lived long enough to see only his oldest son Christos graduate from college. He died in 1975 from heart complications before his two younger children received their college and graduate degrees.
Petroulas was born in 1911 in a village close to the ancient Tiryns, a few kilometers outside Nafplion.
“Stelios Petroulas is representative of what many of our parents experienced with respect to education,” Dr. Syropoulos said. “Unable to fulfill many of their academic dreams, they worked hard to ensure their children would get the best education, and we have become the beneficiaries of their sacrifice and labor. We are honored to administer a scholarship in Mr. Petroulas’ memory.”
According to Dr. Syropoulos, interest income from this donation will be used every year to support students in financial need.
The AHEPA National Educational Foundation now has $2.7 million endowed.