Celebrating 70 Years - Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois Hosts 2020 Virtual Scholarship Ball

The National Herald

From left to right: Christos Kapsalis, Nicole Mouzakiotis, Eleni Eliopoulos, Maria Palivos, Hardimos Kouklakis, James Heracklis, 2020 Scholarship Recipients.

Preserving a commitment to education and Hellenism, the Hellenic Bar Association Foundation (HBAF) awarded $60,000 in total to six law school students during its virtual scholarship ball on November. In honor of the foundation’s 70th Anniversary, the theme of this year's Ball was Continuing the Legacy, highlighting distinguished Greek-Americans who have contributed in a significant way to the preservation and advancement of Hellenism.

The scholarship recipients included: Christos Kapsalis, at University of Illinois College of Law; Nicole Mouzakiotis, at DePaul University College of Law; Eleni Eliopoulos, at UIC John Marshall Law School; Maria Palivos, at Loyola University Chicago School of Law; Hardimos Kouklakis, at DePaul University College of Law; and James Heracklis, at Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law.

“I am humbled and honored to be a recipient of the Hellenic Bar Association Foundation Scholarship,” scholarship recipient James Heracklis said. “Since I moved to Chicago, the Hellenic Bar Association has been incredibly welcoming, and several of its members have been crucial to my development both as a law student and as a prospective attorney. Receiving this award has inspired me to continue to challenge myself as I work to complete my last year of law school,” he said.

Reflecting the ever increasing trend of hosting virtual events due to COVID-19 measures, the virtual Scholarship Ball allowed guests to attend from the comfort and safety of their own homes, said Koula A. Fournier, HBA President.

“The safety for our Hellenic Bar members and guests was of the most importance during this difficult year. We committed to hosting a virtual event where our viewers could expect the same great content with some fun features that only a virtual event can provide,” Fournier said.

Prior to the scholarship announcement, the virtual ball also featured a comedy and cocktails pre-show hosted by Basile the comedian.

Also honored during the event were several esteemed members of the Greek-American community. This year’s Hellene of the Year award was given to John G. Manos, President of Bank Financial, philanthropist and youth advocate; the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to United Hellenic Voters of America and Dr. Dimitrios Kyriazopoulos; the Lawyer of the Year, award was given to Georgia Loukas Demeros, partner at the law firm of Thompson Coburn LLP in Chicago; and the Professional Achievement Award, was given to Annie Diamantidis, luxury accessories designer.

For the past 70 years, the HBAF through its annual ball has been committed to awarding scholarships to deserving law students of Hellenic descent. Despite this year’s challenges, HBAF successfully raised enough funds to support six scholarships, highlighting the generosity of the Hellenic community.

“Ultimately, our goal was accomplished,” Fournier said. “Gifting $60,000 – half of which was matched by our foundation – in scholarships was truly amazing, especially during these uncertain times. Our scholarship donors and sponsors showed true and selfless generosity and we are extremely grateful for all the support we received this year,” she said.