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John Pappajohn receives the Paradigm Award from John Koudounis

The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation honored the renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist and longtime member of Leadership 100, John G. Pappajohn, with the Paradigm Award on June 23, 2017 in Chicago. The award was presented to Pappajohn by John S. Koudounis, CEO of Calamos Investments and 2016 Paradigm Award Recipient.  The Annual Awards Ceremony and Gala was held to celebrate the 2017 PanHellenic Scholarship Award Recipients. The event took place at the Hilton Chicago with a new record of more than 570 guests attending. The forty-two recipients received $255,000 in scholarship awards to use toward their college education.

Pappajohn delivered a moving speech about his life, education, and career. He emphasized how adversity in his personal life taught him how to make good choices, and how the power of positive thinking and an optimistic attitude have propelled him to success throughout his life. He spoke in depth about the importance of always working hard, and how a person must be willing to "pay the price" to be successful. At the end of his speech, Pappajohn urged this year's scholars to be generous philanthropists, and to give back to the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation. 

Yanni Valsamas, PanHellenic Board Director, conducted the Awards Ceremony, along with Academic Committee Chairman, Dr. Constantine Georgakis, and Board Chairman, Robert A. Buhler. Dr. Georgakis spoke briefly before the presentation of the scholarship awards, stating that “the Foundation could not have been more proud to honor this exceptional group of students for their many significant accomplishments.”

In closing the presentation, Buhler spoke about the Foundation's 2016-17 year and its plans for the future. He outlined how the Board had expanded the reach of the Foundation through its Alumni, co-branding partnerships, and the newly-installed Advisory Board. Buhler continued, "The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our generous donors for their support. Your generosity makes it possible for the Foundation to support exceptional Hellenic undergraduates as they pursue their education. The Foundation is grateful to have had the opportunity to celebrate and honor the 2017 Scholarship Award Recipients and Paradigm Award Honoree, John Pappajohn. We are looking forward to building Tomaras' dream, and embracing the Foundation's bright future. We hope you join us next year at our Awards Ceremony & Gala at the Chicago Hilton on Saturday, June 16, 2018." 

Scholarship recipients at PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation Gala.

In addition to honoring the scholarship recipients and the Paradigm Award Recipient, Board Director John Manos gave special recognition to the Alexopoulos family for Dr. George Alexopoulos' many years of service to the Foundation, leading the Academic Committee. Additionally, Board Director Tom Sotos recognized Yanni Valsamas for his years of service as the Executive Director of the PanHellenic Foundation.

The Gala was hosted by former Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell, and the theme was "Building the Dream." The theme referred to the PanHellenic's founder, Chris P. Tomaras of Blessed Memory, who was also a longtime member of Leadership 100, and his dream of helping deserving Hellenic students earn an education through significant financial support from the Foundation. 

In addition to the Awards Ceremony and Gala, the Foundation also held its first annual Alumni Weekend, which took place from June 16-17, 2017. PanHellenic scholars and alumni were able to meet and network at a cocktail party on Friday evening, June 16, which was generously hosted by the law firm of Holland & Knight. Scholars and alumni were then invited to a mentorship forum and luncheon, hosted by the Hellenic Initiative and the PanHellenic Foundation at the Racquet Club of Chicago. At the luncheon, more than 90 young Hellenic professionals gathered, networked, and were mentored by successful Greek American professionals.  Finally, scholars and alumni attended the Awards Ceremony and Gala on Saturday evening, followed by an after-party at the Hilton. The Alumni Weekend was truly a great success.

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