BOSTON – The Order of AHEPA honored with its Socrates Award the prominent global businessman and philanthropist Michael Psaros at the Grant Banquet of its 97th Supreme Convention in Chicago on Friday, July 5 at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America was the main speaker at the banquet, and Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago was also present. It was the Archbishop’s first official visit to the Metropolis of Chicago.
Τhe Socrates Award is the highest award bestowed by AHEPA. Typically, it is awarded to U.S. presidents, heads of State, or Patriarchs. The first one was presented in 1964. Previously, 22 Awards had been given to highly esteemed persons and Psaros was the 23rd.
Michael Psaros wasn’t able to accept the Award in person due to previous commitments but he communicated with the thousands of the banquet guests via a video message.
In a telephone interview with The National Herald, he said that “I am humbled, honored and grateful to receive the 23rd Socratic Award from AHEPA. I cannot believe I now share an honor bestowed on Ecumenical Patriarchs, Presidents of the United States, Bob Hope, and many dignitaries.”
Psaros in his acceptance speech among other things said the following:
“I thank you for presenting me with the 23rd Socratic Award. I accept this extraordinary honor with humility and respect.
I cannot comprehend that AHEPA has presented me with an honor bestowed to Ecumenical Patriarchs and Presidents of the United States.
I dedicate this prestigious award to my family, to my parents, but above all, to my grandparents: που ειταν προτοποροι και μεταναστες – who were pioneers and immigrants.
I dedicate this prestigious award to that generation.
I am proud to be an AHEPAN because AHEPA was originally created to defend those metatastes from discrimination.
AHEPA was critical in helping the generations of metanastes assimilate. When they were in need, AHEPA answered the call.
I am proud to be an AHEPAN, because it was created to promote Hellenism and the Hellenic ideal.
Hellenism is God 's gift to human civilization and represents the best of humanity: philotimo, philanthropia, philoxenia and agape.
Central to Hellenism is the primacy of the individual in society, of free will, of free choice, of free expression, of free action.
These values form the foundation of this Republic.
I am proud to be an Ahepan because of its diakonia to Holy Orthodoxy, the Mother Church of Constantinople and the Holy Archdiocese of America.
Hellenism can only be viewed through the brilliant prism of Orthodoxy.
From its creation, Ahepa has been a defender of the Faith from our Parishes to the World Stage.
I am proud to be an Ahepan because it exists to serve others. AHEPA is the joyful giver referred to in the gospels.
It is a selfless organization.
The impact of AHEPA's philanthropia over the decades in our Hellenic Community is extraordinary.
I am proud to be an Ahepan, because it has given so much back to our country that has fulfilled the dreams of the Hellenic diaspora.
Ahepans understand that the United States is and always will be the land of opportunity, a shining city on the hill, a beacon of hope for the world.
Ahepans are proud to be Americans of Hellenic Descent. We know where we come from.
This grounds us.
This provides us with confidence. This provides us with dignity.
We have a sense of place, and that is powerful.
The need, the imperative, for AHEPA has never been greater than today. We all know why.
Greece remains in an economic crisis, and is confronted by a hostile power that is even questioning the territorial integrity of the country. Cyprus remains illegally occupied.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate is under assault by a hostile government and even within the global Church.
AHEPA, with its size, resources, and commitment, is the critical organization to leverage Washington and the will of the American people to help our mother country and our mother Church.
I know AHEPA will answer the call.
In conclusion, I thank God for the blessing of providing me with the inspiration to serve his Church and our Hellenic Community. Ευχαριστο με αγαπη και σεβασμο – thank you with my love and respect.”
Michael Psaros is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of KPS Capital Partners, LP, and a member of its Investment Committee and Management Committee. KPS Capital Partners, LP is the manager of KPS Special Situations Funds, a family of private equity funds with approximately $5.0 billion of assets under management (as of March 31, 2019) focused on making controlling equity investments in manufacturing and industrial companies across a diverse array of industries, including basic materials, branded consumer, healthcare and luxury products, automotive parts, capital equipment and general manufacturing.
Psaros and the Partners of KPS have successfully developed and executed a proprietary investment strategy of creating new companies to acquire assets or businesses from large corporations, businesses owned by families or entrepreneurs, and businesses presented for sale in connection with financial restructurings, including companies owned by former creditor groups. KPS then transforms these businesses into independent, world-class, industry-leading enterprises by structurally improving their strategic position, competitiveness, and profitability.
The KPS Funds’ portfolio companies have aggregate annual revenues of approximately $5.8 billion, operate 100 manufacturing facilities in 27 countries, and have over 22,000 employees, directly and through joint ventures worldwide.
Prior to joining its predecessor and creating KPS in 1997, Psaros was an investment banker with Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc.
He received a BS/BA in Finance from Georgetown University and attended Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan and serves on the Board of Directors of Georgetown University. He also serves as the Vice Chairman of the Executive Board of Advisors of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the Board of Advisors of the Georgetown University Center for Financial Markets and Policy. He and his spouse created The Michael and Robin Psaros Endowed Chair in Business Administration at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in 2013.
Psaros is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Order of St. Andrew, where he serves on its National Council. He is a founding member of FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism; serves on the Board of Trustees of Leadership 100 – Advancing Hellenism and Orthodoxy in America, and on the Executive Board of The Hellenic Initiative. He is the Vice Chairman of Friends of St. Nicholas, the organization responsible for constructing the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox National Shrine at Ground Zero. He previously served as the Treasurer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and served on its Executive Committee.
Thus far the “Socrates” Award has been given to following personalities: Henry R. Luce (1964), Publisher of Time and Life magazines, Lyndon B. Johnson (1966), President of the United States of America; Everett Dirksen (1968), U.S. Senator from Illinois, Richard M. Nixon (1971), President of the United States, His All Holiness Athenagoras I Ecumenical Patriarch (1972), Constantine Karamanlis (1976), Prime Minister of Greece, Hubert H. Humphrey (1978), former Vice-President of the United States; Bob Hope (1984), Entertainer, Ronald Reagan (1986), President of the United States; Archbishop Iakovos (1988), Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, George W. H. Bush (1990), President of the United States, William "Gus" Pagonis (1992) - Lt. General, William Clinton (1996) President of the United States, His All Holiness, Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch (1997), Alex G. Spanos (1997), Entrepreneur/Philanthropist, George W. Bush (2002) President of the United States, George A. Kalogridis (2014), President of Walt Disney World Resort.