At the beginning of the 1970s, thousands of Greek students were attending Queens College, in York. We would say, then, that we numbered 3500.
One of the reasons is that
there began, in the 1960s, a great wave of immigrants from Greece to America, many of whom settled in Queens, so even if we weren’t so many, we approached that number.
Queens College, a public College, was then the choice of many students. It offered a very good academic program with low tuition.
That is when the Greek club Ikaros was established, and I happened to be elected as one of its president. The Student Union Building was also completed at the time and we were able, after a hard fought fight, to set up an office for the club on the second floor.
On the first floor was a cafeteria where we spent the time with interminable discussions about the Greek junta, to the point where we would even cut classes. Most of us were anti-junta, but there were some who supported it.
One day, we decided to take a trip. I think we were going to Staten Island. But it rained that day, and one of my female classmates invited us to her home.
It was a one-family house in the beautiful neighborhood of Forest Hills.
Among the students was Andreas Cosmatos, a man whom I took note of among the mass of other students.
He was intelligent, calm, always smiling, with goals and dreams for his life. But above all he was a man of compassion.
On that trip, if I remember correctly, he connected more with Doris, a beautiful, serious, intelligent fellow student. A real young lady.
Soon I got to know both of them better. Latter we became koumbari.
Last weekend, the Hellenic Medical Society of New York honored Dr. Andreas Cosmatos with its Distinguished Physician Award.
Few deserve this award more than Dr. Cosmatos.
From the moment he opened his office in Astoria, Dr. Cosmatos embraced the Greek-American community and offered his services to everyone with the same spirit with which he would have engaged his own family. Especially the elderly.
With professionalism, goodness, compassion, and love.
He dedicated to each patient all the time that was needed to examine them, to listen, and to speak to them.
His office was always full and he would see people – and still does – from morning to late in the afternoon.
He continues his practice with the same principles he began it with.
Certainly, there are other very good Greek-American physicians and people, but Dr. Cosmatos must be included at the summit of those to practice his profession with devotion to their patients.
That is Andreas’ character. His authenticity, his knowledge, and his wisdom distinguish him and make him a model physician and human being.
That is why his selection by his fellow doctors as the HMSNY Distinguished Physician Award for 2018 is so richly deserved.