Washington, DC.- (GreekNewsOnline)
Gene T. Rossides, an iconic personality of the Greek American community’s struggles for Cyprus in Washington and founder of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), died on May 16, 2020. He was 92. The announcement was made on Monday by AHI.
Rossides was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1927. His father was from Keryneia, Cyprus and his mother from Gytheion, Laconia. He studied at Columbia University and he was a legendary quarterback in the University’s football team. As it is stated at the obituary issued by Columbia University, following an outstanding football career at Columbia, Rossides was drafted by the NFL’s New York Giants in 1949. He declined the offer to play professional football and instead, chose to attend Columbia Law School, stating that, “law presents more of a challenge for me. I hope to get into politics.”
Rossides followed through with that statement, serving as Assistant Attorney General for New York State and was appointed Undersecretary of the Treasury by President Richard Nixon in 1969. Rossides returned to practice law privately in New York in the 1970s and became a leading activist for Greek and Turkish issues on an international scale.
He retired as a senior partner of the law firm of Rogers and Wells, now Clifford Chance, LLP, where his career spanned nearly 40 years. He served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department from 1969-1973, where he supervised the U.S. Customs Service, Secret Service, the US Mint, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, the Tariff and Trade Office of Law Enforcement, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the IRS law enforcement operations. In 1970, he successfully enforced landmark anti-dumping laws. In 1972, he established the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Notably, in 1972 he appointed the first women to be Federal Law Enforcement Officers, inducting them into the US Secret Service.
A leading Greek American, Rossides also served as U.S. Representative and Vice President of Interpol (1969-1973); Assistant to the Undersecretary of Treasury in the Eisenhower Administration (1958-1961); and started his legal career in the New York County District Attorney’s office as Assistant AG in NY (1956-58) after serving in the US Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio.
He was honored several times by Columbia University. In 1972, he earned Columbia’s Medal of Excellence and in 1974, he was honored with the John Jay Award by the Columbia College Alumni Association. Rossides was also granted the Silver Anniversary award by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1974.
Rossides also authored numerous articles on international tariff and trade, the rule of law, and the book “Kissinger & Cyprus – A Study in Lawlessness” (2014). He was also a founding member of the Eisenhower Institute.
The global Hellenic community mourns a tremendous loss. On behalf of AHI’s Board of Directors, President Nick Larigakis, staff, and members, we convey our deepest sympathies to his wife, Aphrodite; his children, Michael, Gale, Eleni, and Alexander; and the entire Rossides family.
A proud American who never lost sight of his ancestry, Gene Rossides championed and inspired a generation and more to advocate for the rule of law, for Hellenism, and justice for Cyprus. He provided a lifetime of service and dedication to America, Greece, Cyprus, and Hellenic ideals. The Greek American community and Hellenic diaspora are in a far better place because of Gene Rossides.
Gene Rossides will be remembered for his many contributions to the law, legal scholarship, athletics and government service. He understood that United States foreign policy must be grounded on ethical principles and not only national power. He was the first Greek American to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to an Executive Branch office. He served as Assistant Secretary for the United States Treasury in the Nixon administration.
Gene Rossides also founded the American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) in 1975. It was the first “think tank” devoted exclusively to the study of policy issues involving the Greek American community and contemporary Hellenism. He was serving as a director on the board of AHIF at the time of his passing.
The American Hellenic Institute remains committed to the ideals of Gene Rossides and pledges to continue promoting his ideals and foreign policy values.
For his extraordinary leadership of AHI and his contributions to the Hellenic diaspora, Gene Rossides received numerous honors, awards, and accolades from governments, the Orthodox Church, Hellenic heritage and diaspora organizations. During his lifetime, Gene also received significant recognition as a distinguished athlete at Columbia University, starring at quarterback during the university’s “Golden Era” of football. Included among his many honors, awards, and achievements are:
Commander of the Order of the Phoenix by President Konstantinos Stephanopoulos of the Hellenic Republic (2004)
The Republic of Cyprus Presidential Exceptional Service Medal – a rare honor requiring approval of Cyprus’s Council of Ministers (2016)
The House of Representatives of Cyprus Medal as a token of gratitude for a lifetime of dedication to Cyprus and its cause – the highest honor bestowed by the House of Representatives upon an individual (2014)
Investiture in The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle – Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America
Induction into the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame and named to Columbia Football’s Team of the 20th Century
Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws of the Academy of Athens (2005)
AHEPA-Archbishop Iakovos Humanitarian Award (2000)
Induction into the AHEPA Hellenic Athletic Hall of Fame
AHEPA-Stamos Family Lifetime Achievement Award (2014)
In Remembrance: AHI President
& CEO Nick Larigakis
“It is with a heavy heart that I reflect upon Gene Rossides and what he meant to the community, AHI, and me, personally,” AHI President & CEO Nick Larigakis said. “I am forever indebted and grateful to Mr. Rossides for his leadership, guidance, and mentorship over the decades. I am most appreciative of his entrusting me with the opportunity to lead the AHI, of which its mission he valued so deeply. I have always tried to lead this organization in a way that always honors his name and the passion with which he championed the causes for which he cared deeply. In so doing, I am never under any illusion that I am replacing him because there is no replacing a legend; however, just to attempt to do the best I can to continue in his work and legacy. On a more personal level, I always considered Gene Rossides like a second father because I was always able to share with him things that I was never able to share with my father. He will be remembered as a man of virtue and integrity, a genuine man. Gene Rossides did what he did out of true conviction and principle, and in so doing, he advocated and fought for the issues for all the right reasons! I will miss him dearly and can only make him the promise that I will continue to carry out his work to the best of my ability, moving forward. May His Memory Be Eternal.”
In Remembrance: AHI Foundation
President Constantine A. Galanis
“The American Hellenic Institute Foundation, its board members, supporters, and benefactors, profoundly lament the passing of its founder and mentor, Mr. Gene Rossides,” AHI Foundation President Constantine A. Galanis said. “He has been an inspiration to all of us in doing the right thing, a champion of the rule of law, and respected broadly on both sides of the Atlantic for his values and integrity. In honor of his memory, we will continue to work for the causes he bestowed on us with even more fervor and inspiration. May His Memory Be Eternal.”
Former President of AHIPAC
May his memory be eternal! I had the privilege to work with him for many years and I can say he was one of a kind! He showed us the way of how to be involved in our political system and how to promote our issues. He founded the American Hellenic institute and he led the effort for the embargo on turkey after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
His legacy will always be with us!
Supreme President George G. Horiates has issued the following statement on the sad news of the passing of Eugene T. Rossides, founder of the American Hellenic Institute, who died May 16, 2020. He was 92.
“The members of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association deeply mourn the passing of AHEPA Life Member Eugene T. Rossides, a champion of the rule of law, an upstanding public servant, and standout athlete.
Brother Rossides will be missed tremendously by the many lives he touched and inspired worldwide through a lifetime of unwavering service and extraordinary leadership in the pursuit of excellence and justice. A proud American and passionate Hellene, Brother Rossides’ legacy will live on through the American Hellenic Institute and the AHI-affiliated organizations he founded and led in support of the rule of law, Hellenism, and the Cyprus cause; and furthermore, for spearheading the effort that led to a U.S. arms embargo on Turkey following Turkey’s illegal invasion of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974.
We are immensely proud to have called Eugene Rossides a Brother Ahepan since 1954. Throughout his life, he exemplified and fulfilled the mission of AHEPA to the utmost. A man of integrity, Brother Rossides will be remembered fondly as a pillar of the community and with reverence.
“Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with the Rossides family. May his memory be eternal.”