Ten outstanding alumni from PIERCE, DEREE and ALBA who have excelled in their respective fields, one prominent member of the Greek Diaspora and a foundation which actively promotes Hellenism will be honored at our Alumni Achievement Awards recognition event on Friday, September 12 at 20:00 at The American College of Greece, Irene Bailey Open Air Theater, Ag. Paraskevi Campus.

Award Categories

Ten outstanding ACG alumni will be presented with awards in the following categories:

1. Maria West Lifetime Achievement

2. Philanthropy and Community Service

3. Business

4. Arts and Culture

5. Education

6. Sciences

7. Entrepreneurship: Rising Star

This year, a prominent member of the Greek Diaspora will be recognized for their commitment to education, while a renowned foundation will be awarded the Greek Heritage Award for promoting Hellenism.

During the ceremony, a special commemoration will be made in honor of the late Avraam Albert Arouh (1950-2014), who dedicated his life to education and served The American College of Greece as a faculty member of Economics for 33 years.

Award Descriptions and Honorees

Maria West Lifetime Achievement Award: Established as a tribute to the founder of The American College of Greece, this award is presented to an outstanding individual who has achieved significant accomplishments in her/his life through dedication to a cause or field of endeavor, and who honors the values and principles that guided the founders of ACG and continue to inspire the institution: commitment to excellence and service to the community.

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, DEREE 2003, Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO, Founder and President of ELPIDA

Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis is a woman deeply committed to offering in any way possible. Her multifaceted work in Greece and abroad focuses on important social issues such as human rights, children’s health and protection, social solidarity, education, peace, dialogue among civilizations, sustainable development, etc. Among her various humanitarian activities, she is Founder and President of the Association of Friends of Children with Cancer “ELPIDA”, proving daily that science and social concern can enhance and change the lives of sick children and fill them with hope for the future. Thanks to her and to the work of the ELPIDA Association, more than 700 children from Greece and the Mediterranean region suffering from cancer were given a new chance of life. She created the first Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Greece in 1993, the first Pediatric Oncology Hospital “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis-ELPIDA” in 2010 and the Bone Marrow Donor Bank “Orama Elpidas” in 2014. In 1997, she founded the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” with important educational, cultural and humanitarian action. Since 1999, she is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

She also serves as a Board member of several international organizations like Bibliotheca Alexandrina and collaborates with many others. She has been widely recognized and awarded for her achievements. Today, the American College of Greece awards her not only for her dedication to giving but also for serving as an exemplary role model for our students and an inspiration for future generations.


Commitment to Education: The Commitment to Education award honors the significant practices of a leading corporation or foundation known for consistently demonstrating levels of excellence in supporting educational causes. The honoree will be renowned for its culture of nurturing new and upcoming talent and for seeking opportunities to invest in the younger generation through education. The corporation or foundation actively supports ACG and academia, and is committed to social responsibility, knowledge transfer, learning, and education.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is one of the world’s leading international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health, medicine and sports, and social welfare. The Foundation funds organizations and projects that exhibit strong leadership and sound management and are expected to achieve a broad, lasting and positive impact for society at large. The Foundation also seeks actively to support projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare.

From 1996 until today, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has approved grant commitments of $1.45 billion (€1.10 billion), through 2,715 grants to nonprofit organizations in 110 nations around the world.

In 2012 and 2013, the Foundation announced two new initiatives of €100,000,000 ($130 million) each, to help the efforts to address the crisis in Greece. While the initiative in 2012, which has almost been completed, aimed to provide immediate relief against the adverse effects of the deepening crisis, the one in 2013 aims to address the high percentage of youth unemployment, seeking to create better employment prospects and new opportunities for the young. As part of its “Recharging the Youth” initiative, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation is supporting a scholarship program at DEREE – The American College of Greece, giving the opportunity to deserving students of Greek universities to participate in the Parallel Studies program of DEREE.

The Foundation’s largest single gift ($796 million / €566 million) is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), in Athens, which is expected to be completed in 2016. The project includes the new facilities of the National Library of Greece, and of the Greek National Opera, as well as the Stavros Niarchos Park. The SNFCC is a testament and a commitment to the country’s future. It is also an engine of short- to mid-term economic stimulus.


Philanthropy and Community Service: This award is presented to an alumnus/alumna who is a leader in philanthropy and service to philanthropic causes, and who has made a substantive difference in society. The recipient has offered her/his time, talent and resources to perform outstanding and sustained work for non-profit philanthropic organizations by leading and promoting charitable giving. Also, through her/his volunteer work, has demonstrated outstanding aid to the wider community socially, culturally or economically. She/he has identified local community needs or gaps and, through her/his initiative and leadership, has brought meaningful change within society and/or the non-profit sector. She mobilizes and inspires citizens of the community to fulfill those needs and is recognized for her commitment and capacity to influence others for a good cause.

Ourania Kli-Efremoglou
, PIERCE UPPER 1952 and 1954, President, Foundation of the Hellenic World

Ourania Kli-Efremoglou has been acquainted with the idea of giving from a very early age. Right after graduating from PIERCE, she provided her voluntary services for 10 years to YWCA Athens (HEN Athinon) and Volunteer Association (Omilos Ethelonton). After their son’s birth, she and her husband decided to make their family even bigger by creating a foster home for girls in state custody. After their grandchildren’s birth, they gave back by equipping hospitals and helping orphanages in every corner of Greece. Greek culture has always served as an inspiration and a motive for the Efremoglou family to keep on offering. In 1993, Ourania Kli-Efremoglou and her husband established the Foundation of the Hellenic World, with the mission to preserve and disseminate Hellenic history and culture. The Foundation has also established a Cultural Center and Museum, the “Hellenic Cosmos”, a hub of cultural activities, theatrical performances and museum exhibitions with high educational value. Ourania Kli-Efremoglou has made the difference by giving unconditionally and wholeheartedly to the community. Today, The American College of Greece feels obliged and honored to give back, presenting her with the Philanthropy and Community Service award and a warm “thank you” on behalf of the entire Greek society.


Greek Heritage Award: This award is bestowed upon a prominent member of the Greek diaspora for promoting Hellenism. She/he has been actively engaged in preserving Hellenism through projects and activities that spread the values, learning, history and culture of Greece to other parts of the world, raise awareness of these attributes abroad and create connections to Greece for present and future generations.

George D. Behrakis
, President, Behrakis Foundation

George D. Behrakis, a Greek-American businessman and philanthropist, has made significant contributions to an impressive number of organizations and has dedicated himself to the promotion of Hellenism, especially related to education, the arts, and civic responsibility. Mr. Behrakis distinguished himself in the pharmaceutical industry as a researcher and marketer of asthma and allergy products and is the founder of two companies – Dooner Laboratories and Muro Pharmaceutical, Inc. His successful career in pharmaceuticals has been complemented by his support of philanthropic endeavors. These efforts include, sponsoring fellowships for Greek physicians, establishing scholarships for students, endowing faculty chairs, promoting the collection of ancient Greek artifacts at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, providing support to the Lowell, Massachusetts community – the first home of many Greek immigrants – and serving on the boards of educational, health, religious, civic and arts organizations. In Greece, Mr Behrakis has focused his philanthropy on tobacco control and on reducing and preventing smoking through educational programs, with an emphasis on young people.


Business: This award is presented to an alumnus/alumna who is widely recognized in her/his field of business for leadership and commitment to excellence. She/he leverages her/his achievements and business intelligence to facilitate change and create opportunities. She/he demonstrates respect for and engagement with her community, clients and colleagues. She/he is an alumnus/alumna of exceptional creativity that has taken an innovative approach to successfully launch, manage, grow or revive a business, product or service.

Alexandra Pitta-Chazapi
, PIERCE 1967, Board of Directors Member and Managing Director, Attiki Bee Culturing Co. Alexandros Pittas SA

Employing perseverance, motivating your employees, dreaming and hardworking: These values and continuous pioneering efforts helped Alexandra Pitta-Chazapi develop the family honey producing business into one of the most dynamic and innovative enterprises in the world. Having been chosen as one of the forty most important women entrepreneurs of the world, she continues to manage the Attiki Bee Culturing Company as Vice President of the Board and Managing Director responsible for the Commercial Sector, while she also passes on her business knowledge by mentoring ambitious young women who wish to follow in her footsteps. Alexandra Pitta-Chazapi has not only proved that Greek women have entrepreneurship in their DNA; she has significantly contributed to promoting Greece by offering the world one of the country’s most exquisite goods: Greek honey.


Paris Kafantaris, DEREE 1980, WE Marketing Vice President, Procter & Gamble

Paris Kafantaris’ motto in life is “It’s all about winning!” and his achievements are a mere confirmation of his words. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from DEREE and his Master’s degree in Business Administration from Hofstra University in New York, he joined Procter & Gamble and followed a successful career path to his present position of leading the Marketing Function for Europe. His 30-year career in P&G departments around Europe has demonstrated his extraordinary ability to adjust in a plethora of working environments and to excel in each and every one of these, while raising the creativity standard and the market share. He accomplished changing the mindset of a company from marketing products to marketing an experience and he was generously rewarded by the consumers for this strategic innovation. Now, the time has come for his alma mater to recognize his achievements too.


Theano Liakopoulou, ALBA 1999, Partner, McKinsey & Company

By the time Theano Liakopoulou graduated from the National Technical University of Athens with a diploma in Chemical Engineering, she already knew what excited her the most: making change happen. Her passion to thrive and her will to drive change in a business context motivated her to pursue an MBA degree at ALBA, after which she “engineered” her own outstanding career. She joined McKinsey & Company 14 years ago and became a partner in 2009. Theano is now one of the core leaders of McKinsey’s Operations practice in Europe and the lead Partner for the firm’s Procurement work in the region. Her work spans beyond the Greek borders; her clients include global organizations in the Pharmaceuticals and Consumer Goods sectors based in Central and Western Europe, while her activity in Greece focuses on industrial players. Her work involves supporting her clients in performance improvement efforts across sourcing, supply chain and manufacturing. Theano also has a strong passion for supporting the growth of talented women in business and she has been leading McKinsey’s Women’s Initiative in Europe for a number of years.



Arts and Culture: This award is presented to an alumnus/alumna who has made an impact on society through her/his commitment to the arts and/or culture including visual, literary, media, architectural or performing arts. This award acknowledges and celebrates the role that the individual artist, art educator, artistic creator or performer plays through his/her own work or by facilitating and promoting the artistic efforts of others as well as broadening community engagement in the arts.

Evita Arapoglou
, PIERCE 1974, Art Historian and Author

The art historian Evita Arapoglou has dedicated her life and work to studying and diving deep into the realm of 19th and 20th century Greek Art. After graduating from PIERCE, she studied at University College and King’s College, University of London. In 1989 she wrote her book on the A.G. Leventis Collection of Greek paintings of the 19th and 20th century and since 1994, she is Curator of the collection of the A. G. Leventis Foundation. Her comprehensive catalogue of the Greek Collection was published in 2012 while for the past seven years she was involved in the preparation of the new Leventis Gallery in Nicosia. Her deep knowledge of art and dedication to it brought her working close to Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas involving her in exhibitions of his works – such as at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the Benaki Museum – while her tribute to him was presented at the Academy of Athens, the Hellenic American Union, the Reading Society and elsewhere. Her book “Ghika: Drawings” was one of her earlier works while “3, Kriezotou Street” is a remarkable book on the artist’s home and his work. She has written on various subjects such as on Art and Artists in Corfu and on Yannis Moralis and Mont Parnes. She has lectured extensively and curated exhibitions in Greece, Cyprus and the United Kingdom, one of her most recent ones being a major exhibition at the National Gallery in Athens of the Leventis Foundation Collections. She is currently vice-chairman of the Katakouzinos Foundation, member of the Honorary Board of the Leventis Gallery, board member of the Centre of Asia Minor Studies, of the Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage, and of the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO. Through her commitment to Greek art, she has not just promoted Hellenism by “curating” its exhibition to the world but she has also helped create an “ark of culture”, treasuring and rescuing a most valuable part of Greek heritage.


Education Award: This award is presented to an alumnus/alumna who has made significant contributions to the field of education. We recognize the achievements of an alumnus/alumna who has dedicated her/his life to young people, and who promotes modern teaching practices and innovation in classrooms in Greece or abroad. The recipient inspires passion for learning in students and those around her/him, motivating them to seek knowledge and personal growth. She/he contributes through practice, research and/or education administration to the creation of a progressive learning environment, ensuring a brighter and more fulfilling future for younger generations.

Aris Stouraitis
, DEREE ’88 Professor, Department of Finance and Decision Sciences, Hong Kong Baptist University

Dr. Aris Stouraitis wished for a job that would never be too far away from a football pitch. Gladly enough, most university campuses have pitches; gladly enough, that’s not his only wish to come true during his fruitful academic career. After graduating from DEREE with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Accounting & Finance, he obtained his MSc in Management from INSEAD (France) and continued on to receive his PhD in Finance from Imperial College London (United Kingdom). Today, he is Professor at the Department of Finance and Decision Sciences and Director of the Center for Corporate Governance and Financial Policy at Hong Kong Baptist University. His research in corporate finance has been published in various international academic journals while he has participated in academic conferences organized by prestigious institutions, such as the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Harvard Business School and European Finance Association. His work has been quoted in magazines and newspapers such as The Economist and the German Handelsblatt. However, in between teaching corporate restructuring and attending conferences, he still drops by the campus’s football pitch; and there is no doubt that he is an achiever in that field too.


Sciences: This award is presented to an alumnus/alumna who is dedicated to the advancement of technological, scientific or industrial discovery and/or application. Her/his efforts create opportunities for current and future generations in such fields as science, applied science, natural and renewable resources, and information technology.

Athena Andreadis
, PIERCE 1973, Scientist, Science ambassador, Writer, Editor

Dr. Andreadis is a molecular biologist, distinguished both for her scientific achievements and for her creative talent. After graduating from PIERCE, Athena Andreadis started working on her long list of accomplishments. She earned her BA (magna cum laude) from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During her 30-year academic career, she fulfilled many roles, from extensive basic research on brain function to mentoring scientists at all stages of their academic careers and from presenting science to NASA engineers to making the universe comprehensible to science fiction authors. Until mid-2013, she was Associate Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School; she is a published author of popular science books (To Seek Out New Life: The Biology of Star Trek) and of prose and poetry; she is also the engine behind The Other Half of the Sky, an anthology of original space opera that changed the landscape of science fiction.

Her research has contributed significantly to understanding the genetic regulatory mechanism responsible for dementia, while her writings on science and speculative fiction introduce the wonders of the universe to broader audiences, illuminating the beauty and power of science. “Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination” said John Dewey, and Athena Andreadis proves the saying with every article, novel and book of hers!


Entrepreneurship: Rising Star Award: This award is presented to an alumnus/alumna who has been broadly recognized as an exceptional young (approximately 25-35 years of age) entrepreneur who has demonstrated commitment to a cause or to the pursuit of a personal dream. She/he has shown perseverance, innovation and a keen understanding of community issues. A “rising star” entrepreneur is respected and admired for her/his achievements and commitment to her/his school, workplace and/or community and is a positive influence on her/his peers. She/he is an alumnus/alumna with a vision of the future, and possesses creativity and ingenuity that distinguishes her/him from her/his peers. She/he has a proven record of success in starting a business or enterprise that has introduced an innovative or unique product or service to the market.

Antonios Fiorakis
, DEREE 2007, Co-Founder and CEO, incrediblue.com

How did Antonios Fiorakis make it to the “40 under 40 Greek Entrepreneurs” list of the Greek Fortune Magazine? It’s not incredible, it’s incrediblue! This is the name of the start-up boat rental company that made him stand out as one of the youngest successful Greek entrepreneurs. His business idea of creating a boat rental platform did not come out of the blue though; his studies and work experience in a variety of fields helped him develop his management skills and his acute sense of recognizing a business opportunity. After graduating from DEREE with a Management major, Antonios obtained his Master’s degree from IE Business School and worked at Beiersdorf and JTI before creating incrediblue.com, a start-up that received €600,000 from the Jeremie Openfund II. Being a CEO and co-founder of a successful start-up at the age of 30, he now has the wind beneath his sails towards his future achievements!


Ioannis Arabatzis, ALBA 2005, Founder and Managing Director, Nanophos SA

Dr Arabatzis, at the age of 37, has already proved that a good idea and a solid education are the sole ingredients of the recipe to success. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, he continued his academic enrichment with a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens and an MBA from ALBA. He then managed to incorporate his academic knowledge and science skills into a robust business plan to create an innovative nanotechnology enterprise. Today, NanoPhos SA is manufacturing products in Greece that capture the market worldwide. Dr Arabatzis, as the managing director and founder of the company, feels proud to serve his dream by dedicating himself to transferring technology into every day applications. Dr. Arabatzis excels in setting the foundations for a new technological field to flourish but above all he contributes to introducing a new era of outstanding accomplishments for Greece.


Special Commemoration:

Avraam Albert Arouh (1950 -2014) served The American College of Greece as a faculty member of Economics for 33 years, molding the personalities of thousands of students among which he was considered a mentor. During his career he researched many subjects ranging from public finance and economic development to labor economics and comparative economics. In 2012, he retired from his duties as Professor Emeritus, the second one ever in the history of DEREE. He was also a very active member of the DEREE community, as advisor to the Economics Society, the Arts Club, the Yearbook Club, the Debating Club and the Film Club. Apart from his academic career, he had an equally prominent career in gastronomy. He was the most renowned Greek restaurant critic, writing under the pen name Epikouros, in major newspapers and magazines. His theoretical and academic background was reflected in his writings where he strived to introduce a philosophical approach to gastronomic matters. He will be remembered for his academic achievements, for his passion to bringing out the best in students and his outstanding personality. For Albert Arouh didn’t just offer his academic mentorship and his gastronomy views; he was teaching a whole new philosophy, the art of living.

Through a process open to the public, nominations for the 2014 ACG Alumni Achievement Awards were collected online and assessed by a committee made up of American College of Greece administrators, faculty, and alumni.

An alumni committee consisting of PIERCE, DEREE, and ALBA alumni volunteers is spreading the word to alumni and supporting the event in several other ways as well. The alumni’s enthusiasm and motivation are inspirational!

Organized by

The 2014 Alumni Achievement Awards are being organized by the Office of Development & Alumni Relations with the support of alumni, students, faculty, staff, friends of The American College of Greece and the Attica Tradition Foundation.

The AAA Alumni Committee is made up of (from left to right):

ACG alumni Christos Chrysostalis (ALBA ’04), Sylvia Koutsomitopoulou (PIERCE ’66, DEREE ’70), Spiros Mavrogalos (DEREE ’91), Nikos Giannakis (DEREE ’81) and (not pictured) Evangelos Bertsekas (ALBA ’01).