STORRS, Conn. – Archbishop Elpidophoros attended the installation of Dr. Thomas C. Katsouleas as the 16th President of the University of Connecticut on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.
Dr. Katsouleas is a leading plasma scientist and engineer with deep academic roots in teaching and research.
He began his term as president in August of 2019 after previously serving as executive vice president and provost at the University of Virginia.
On September 29, the Connecticut Greek-American community welcomed Prof. Katsouleas to his new position as UConn. The Welcome Reception was sponsored by the Center for Hellenic Studies “Paideia” and held at the Paideia Center on the UConn campus in Storrs.
Representatives of all of the major Connecticut Greek-American organizations attended to embrace and welcome Prof. Katsouleas, and provide him with an understanding of the mission of the Hellenic Studies Center Paideia.
Amongst the organizations that offered congratulatory remarks to Prof. Katsouleas were: the Order of AHEPA, through Jack Isaac, Region #5 Supreme Governor and Demetrios Tasoulas, Yankee District #7 Lieutenant Governor; Pan-Laconian Federation President Theodoros Pavlakos, Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of New England President Vasilis Kafkas; Norwalk Pontian Society President Kostas Tsilfidis, and President of the Connecticut Pan-Gregorian Organization Chris Skabardonis. In addition, remarks were offered by Connecticut State Representatives Christopher Ziogas, and Past State Representatives Demetrios Giannaros and Kostas Diamantes.
Nikos Paravalos, Student President of the Paideia Student Association, remarked on how proud all of the UConn Greek-American students were now being led by a fellow Greek-American, who would serve as a mentor and role model for them.
Former UConn President Harry Hartley, who was instrumental three decades ago facilitating the land transfer from the University of Connecticut to the Hellenic Studies Program for the Paideia Center, was also recognized.
Congratulatory remarks were also made by Past Supreme Counselor of AHEPA, Gregory J. Stamos, as President of the Hellenic Bar Association, who also served as the Master of Ceremonies, along with Attorney Anita Varunes.
During the remarks welcoming President Katsouleas, AHEPA Yankee District #7 of AHEPA also presented Ilias Tomazos, the Founder and President of the Hellenic Studies Center “Paideia” with its 2019 Hellene of the Year Award, for his outstanding vision and leadership in Hellenic issues, including most certainly, the perpetuation of Greek culture and language at the Hellenic Studies Center.
Katsouleas offered warm remarks, both in English and Greek, to the audience of 200, consisting of students, parents and longtime volunteers and benefactors of the Hellenic Studies Center, remarking on how his Greek heritage has positively impacted him throughout his life and that he anticipated with great eagerness a long and fruitful relationship between the University of Connecticut and the Hellenic Studies Center.
Noteworthy was that Katsouleas tasked the Hellenic Studies Center at UConn with hosting a seminal celebration in 2020 of the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae, and Prof. Tomazos of the Center has willingly accepted that assignment.
The Hellenic Studies Center was founded in 1980 and the first edifice erected was the Three Heirarchs Chapel, the first and still the only extant Greek Orthodox Chapel in the United States on a college campus, and since that time, there has been erected a Library, Cultural, and Educational Center, a marble Greek Amphitheater for outdoor performances, and is currently completing construction of a Spartan Museum. The Hellenic Studies Center sponsors lectures and symposiums on Hellenism, offers Greek language classes and classical Greek studies for University of Connecticut students, and annually sponsors college credit excursions to Greece.
Virtually every speaker noted that Prof. Tomazos not only had the vision but was also the “doer” to make the Hellenic Studies Center and a Greek Orthodox Chapel on a college campus a reality.