BROOKLINE, MA – Greek American tycoon and San Diego Chargers owner, Alex Spanos, showed once more his generosity to Greek Orthodox Church, donating half a million dollars to theHellenic College Holly Cross School. The announcement was made on Saturday May 15, 2004, during the 62nd commencement exercises, of the School of Theology, during which Alex Spanos and his wife Faye were awarded honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters.
As Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, President of Hellenic College, stated “it is a great honor and privilege for Hellenic College to be able to recognize two extraordinary Greek Orthodox Christians. Faye and Alex Spanos represent all that is good about our Greek-American heritage and Orthodox faith. At the center of their more than five decades together is the love, respect, and honor which they have for each other, their family, their church, and the greater community in which they live.”
Fifty young Greek Orthodox people graduated from the Class of 2004, amongst them, the priests of St Demetrios of Astoria Cathedral, fr. Apostolos Koufalakis and fr. Stavros Anagnostopoulos and the new priest of St Markella in Wantagh, fr Sarantis Loulakis.
Present at the commencement exercises were, Archbishop Demetrios, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, Metropolitan Methodios, Consul General of Greece in Boston Costas Bikas and Bishop Savas of Troas.
Alex G. Spanos is the consummate American success story. Born in Stockton, California of Greek immigrant parents from Kalamata, he developed a strong work ethic as an eight-year-old in his father’s restaurant, rising at dawn in order to prepare pastries before going to school.
Alex G. Spanos and Fay Papafaklis were married on August 22, 1948 at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Tarpon Springs, Florida. They were blessed to have four children, fifteen grandchildren. Fifty-five years later, Alex and Faye Spanos continue to place each other and their family at the center of their lives.
In 1951, with his young wife Faye and their infant child, Alex took a risk and left his father’s bakery business, borrowed $800 and purchased a truck in order to sell sandwiches to migrant farm workers in the San Quaquin Valley. With Faye’s assistance, Alex transformed his first business enterprise into a highly successful catering business. By 1956, the catering business had become so successful that Mr. Spanos began investing in real estate. In 1960, Alex began A.G. Spanos Construction which he turned into the top-ranked housing construction company in the United States. Today, Alex Spanos is chairman of eight companies, collectively known as A.G. Spanos Companies. Yet with all of this business and economic success, Spanos has never forgotten his roots or the integral role his family has played in his life. As a reflection of his belief in his family, A.G. Spanos Companies continues to be a family owned and operated business.
For both Faye and Alex, their Greek Orthodox faith lies at the very core of who they are. An Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, former president of the Archdiocesan Council, and member of Leadership 100, Mr. Spanos has been a leading churchman for several decades. His most recent initiative as a benefactor of the Church comes in the form of a $10 million pledge as part of the newly created initiative “Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism” which will support and expand the ministries of the Church. Over the years, Faye and Alex have also been generous supporters of their home parish in Stockton, St. Basil Church, as well as being instrumental in establishing the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, CA, especially with the creation of the Alexander G. Spanos Chair in Orthodox Christian Studies at the GTU.
The Spanos couple’s philanthropy has touched the lives of many individuals and communities. In particular Alex and Faye have given back to those communities which have been important parts of their lives. Alex Spanos is a graduate of the University of the Pacific, and the generous contributions of Alex and Faye have led to the building of the Faye Spanos Concert Hall and the 6,000-seat Alex G. Spanos Center on the campus of the University. As owner of the San Diego Chargers, Mr. Spanos has created and funded numerous charitable activities and organizations for the city and citizens of San Diego. The city of Stockton, which has been their home and place of business for over fifty years has been a significant recipient of the Spanos’ Christian philanthropy. In his recently published autobiography, Sharing the Wealth, Mr. Spanos states, “I believe I have a sacred duty to share my good fortune with my church, my community, my fellow Greek Americans and my family.”
Alex Spanos, in particular, has been recognized for his commitment to community and humanity. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Horatio Alger Award, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Gloria Swanson Humanitarian Award, and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith’s National Distinguished Community Service Award for devotion to community and concern for others.
Throughout all their professional, civic, and entrepreneurial success, Faye and Alex have treasured their family above all else. Their four children, Dean, Dea, Alexis, and Michael are all directly involved in the operations of the A.G. Spanos Companies. Son Dean serves as President-Chief Executive Officer of the Chargers and President-Vice Chairman of the Spanos corporate organization. Son Michael manages the construction and development activities of the company and is the Executive Vice President of the Chargers.