PanHellenic Foundation celebrates a decade of treasures
William Bozikis of Park Ridge, filmmaker Dimitris Karbelas of Chicago and Elaine Bozikis of Park Ridge. | Lee Litas~For Sun-Times Media
PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation
17 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 600, Chicago; (312) 357-6432 or panhellenicscholarships.org
The Event: Operating on the premise that “a nation’s treasure is in its scholars,” the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation put 40 of its valuables on full display June 16 inside the Merle Reskin Theater. More than 450 distinguished guests attended PHSF’s 10th anniversary gala to honor this year’s scholarship and merit award recipients.
Led artfully by WGN radio personality Dean Richards, the gala also included the presentation of the 2012 Paradigm Award to notable Greek-American Alexander Payne, two-time Academy Award-winning writer of “Sideways” and “The Descendants.”
After the presentations, festivities moved to the Hilton Chicago where Greek recording artist Petros Gaitanos made the evening’s theme to “Soar with the Stars” a reality.
Cause Célèbre: “Don’t listen to your parents when it comes to choosing a profession,” admonished Payne (born Konstantinos Alexandros Papadopoulos) in his remarks. “Earth, during the brief flash of life that God gives you and that you call your own, offers way too many spectacular possibilities than can’t be predicted, or worse, dictated by loving and well-intended Greek parents.”
PHSF founder and chairman Chris P. Tomaras summed up the mission for his organization by saying, “As many other ethnic groups, we do what we can for our people. We provide scholarships for Greek-American students so that they can be encouraged, assisted and supported to go forward and become tomorrow’s leaders and contributors to society.”
“We believe in our mission; that is why we give our heart and soul to this foundation,” added executive director Yanni Valsamas. “It’s been 10 great years.”
PHSF’s 2011-2012 scholarship pool consists of aspiring surgeons, speech-language pathologists, mechanical engineers, historians and economists, to name a few.
Bottom Line: The PHSF gave away $250,000 in scholarships at the event, bringing its total for the decade to $1.2 million awarded thus far to 227 deserving recipients.