Chicago, IL – On Saturday, June 17, the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation held its annual Awards Ceremony and Gala at the Hilton Chicago. A new record of over 570 guests attended the event, which was held to celebrate the 2017 PanHellenic Scholarship Award Recipients. This year’s forty-two scholars received an impressive $255,000 in scholarship awards to use toward their college education.
This year’s Paradigm Award Honoree was the renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist, John Pappajohn. The award was presented to Mr. Pappajohn by John S. Koudounis, CEO of Calamos Investments and 2016 Paradigm Award Recipient. Mr. Pappajohn is a visionary entrepreneur, a generous philanthropist, and a successful businessman, and he delivered a moving speech about his life, education, and career. He emphasized how adversity in his personal life taught him how to make good choices, and how the power of positive thinking and an optimistic attitude have propelled him to success throughout his life. Mr. Pappajohn spoke in depth about the importance of always working hard, and how a person must be willing to “pay the price” to be successful. At the end of his speech, Mr. Pappajohn urged this year’s scholars to be generous philanthropists, and to give back to the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation.
Yanni Valsamas, Director on the Board of the PanHellenic, conducted the Awards Ceremony for the 2017 Scholarship Recipients, along with Academic Committee Chairman, Dr. Constantine Georgakis, and Board Chairman, Robert A. Buhler. Dr. Georgakis spoke briefly before the presentation of the scholarship awards. The Foundation could not have been more proud to honor this exceptional group of students for their many significant accomplishments.
To close the presentation, Chairman Robert Buhler delivered a speech about the Foundation’s 2016-17 year, and its plans for the future. He outlined how the Board had expanded the reach of the Foundation through its Alumni, co-branding partnerships, and the newly-installed Advisory Board.
The gala was hosted by former Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell , and the theme was “Building the Dream.” The theme referred to the PanHellenic’s founder, Mr. Chris P. Tomaras, and his dream of helping deserving Hellenic students earn an education through significant financial support from the Foundation.
In addition to the Awards Ceremony and Gala, the Foundation also held its first annual Alumni Weekend, which took place from June 16-17. PanHellenic scholars and alumni were able to meet and network at a cocktail party on Friday evening, June 16, which was generously hosted by the law firm of Holland & Knight. Scholars and alumni were then invited to a mentorship forum and luncheon, hosted by the Hellenic Initiative and the PanHellenic at the Racquet Club of Chicago. At the luncheon, 90+ young Hellenic professionals gathered, networked, and were mentored by successful Greek American professionals. Finally, scholars and alumni attended the Awards Ceremony and Gala on Saturday evening, followed by an after-party at the Hilton. The Alumni Weekend was truly a great success!
Chairman Robert Buhler said, “The 2017 Awards Ceremony and Gala was a truly splendid night. In addition to honoring our scholars and Paradigm Award Recipient, fellow Trustee John Manos gave special recognition to the Alexopoulos family for Dr. George Alexopoulos’ many years of service to the Foundation, leading the Academic Committee. Additionally, Trustee Tom Sotos recognized Yanni Valsamas for his years of service as the Executive Director of the PanHellenic.”
Mr. Buhler continued, “The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our generous donors for their support. Your generosity makes it possible for the Foundation to support exceptional Hellenic undergraduates as they pursue their education. The Foundation is grateful to have had the opportunity to celebrate and honor the 2017 Scholarship Award Recipients and Paradigm Award Honoree, Mr. John Pappajohn. We are looking forward to building Mr. Tomaras’ dream, and embracing the Foundation’s bright future. We hope you join us next year at our Awards Ceremony & Gala at the Chicago Hilton on Saturday, June 16, 2018.”