HCHC Closer to Selecting New President

BOSTON, MA – The search for a new president for Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HCHC) has entered into its final stage, according to an official news release (Feb. 26) and statements made to TNH by Dr. Tomas Lelon, Chairman of the Search Committee. The candidates have been interviewed over the phone by Dimitra Manis, Human Resources executive and also parish council member of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York. Manis did not respond to TNH’s request for comment.

The news release stated:

“Presidential Search Committee Update

“On Thursday, February 19, 2015, the Presidential Search Committee (PSC) held its seventh meeting. Once again, the PSC is pleased to provide an update as to the current state of its search process.

“The PSC determined that 22 candidates, rather than 19 as indicated in its last update (01-28-2015), are to be interviewed individually by telephone by Dimitra Manis, a human resource executive and a PSC member. As of Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 19 candidates have been interviewed. The remaining three candidates will be interviewed by March 1, 2015. The Committee continues to be impressed by the intellect, personal attributes, skills, and character of the candidates.

“As we participate in the spiritual journey of the Great Fast and experience the Passion and the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, may our Triune God instill within us His Holy Spirit, enabling us to elect a most worthy candidate to serve as the 21st President of Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.”

Fr. Triantafilou, who has been the president since 2000 is retiring due to health issues that do not permit him to continue serving HCHC in the presidential capacity. An unfortunate accident at the airport in New York in March, 2013 aggravates his health condition. A heavy-set man on the top of the escalator lost his balance and fell along with his luggage on to Triantafilou, who was at the bottom of the stairway, injuring him on his back and neck.

HCHC combined has approximately 170 students. The annual cost of operation is $12 million. The Archdiocese, from its $27 million annual budget, gives $1.5 million to the school.

Lelon told TNH that “we had 36 applicants and that was narrowed down to 22 and then out of the 22 we have identified 8 semifinalists.”

But why not reveal the names? “Because you have to protect the confidentiality of the candidates,” he said. “You can’t just let everybody know who the candidates are. They don’t want that to be known. They want to see where they fit in the process, this is the simple reason. You look at any college or university they never release who the candidates are. That is a very private thing. This isn’t secrecy, it is to protect the confidentiality of the candidates.”

Although the Holy Synod members are not part of the Search Committee, “they are members of the Board of trustees, and so ultimately they will elect the next president, according to the bylaws. Every Metropolitan will have a voice and a vote at the meeting which is designated on May 1st when the Board will have a special meeting. At that time, all of the members of the Synod will be present and they can express their points of view and then the nominees will be discussed and an election will take place,” Lelon said. As to why they are not Search Committee members, Lelon said “because in the constitution it doesn’t say that. The way people are elected is specified.” Those members are chosen by the HCHC faculty, he said. Also, the Trustees select two individuals and the archbishop selects two.

Have the members of the Synod been informed? Yes, Lelon added. “They get the entire memorandum all of the members of the Board. They get the same e-mails that everybody else gets.”

Lelon said he cannot pinpoint when a finalist will be chosen.