2016 Commencement Exercises6 July 2016, 12:00 am
Hellenic American College graduating students were awarded their degrees from Hellenic American University on June 30th. Honored guests, family and friends joined faculty and administration in celebrating the accomplishments of the graduating class and wishing them success in their new journey ahead.
Commencement, the 8th in the University's history, was held this year at the theater of the American Community Schools in Agia Paraskevi. The ceremony began with the processional of graduating students, faculty and administration, who entered the hall to the music of Jean-Baptiste Lully's "Te Deum", played by members of the Hellenic American University Chamber Orchestra. In keeping our tradition, the national anthems of both Greece and the United States were heard, sung this year by mezzo-soprano and faculty member Margarita Syngeniotou, who also performed in the music program, which featured George Gershwin's "Summertime", transcribed for chamber orchestra and voice by Ioannis Tselikas, faculty member in the Department of Music, and Dionysios Lavrangas' "Reverie for Voice and String Orchestra", edited by our student Effie Temponera.
Valedictories were delivered by the undergraduate and graduate salutatorians and class representatives Christos Vythopoulos (B.S. in Information Technology) and Styliani Kyrimi (Master of Science in Psychology).
In his valedictory, Mr. Vythopoulos noted that Hellenic American University/Hellenic American College had provided not only a well-rounded education but also the skills needed for a demanding job market. "In my case," he added, "even sooner than expected!" noting that the Hellenic American University/Hellenic American College helped him find a job before completing his studies. He challenged his fellow graduates to take what they had learned during their studies at Hellenic American University/Hellenic American College and enter the world with passion and the confidence that they could achieve their goals, reminding them that their graduation is a proof of their ability to persevere and succeed.
Ms. Kyrimi talked about the opportunities for personal, academic and professional growth that the program and her internship provided and the guidance and support of the faculty. She noted, too, the friends she had made during her journey and "the pleasure of studying with passionate people."
Hellenic American University/Hellenic American College had the privilege of awarding an honorary doctorate to His Eminence Gabriel, Metropolitan of Nea Ionia and Philadelphia. In his address to the graduating class of 2016, His Eminence reminded the audience of the monastic origins of the modern university, the idea that learning about creation was a way of learning about its Creator. He spoke of the broader context of true learning, remarking that learning "without desire, without yearning to know the other" is moral and spiritual bankruptcy. "True education", he said, "without which no true change can be enacted, is not merely the acquisition of knowledge but a matter of self-transformation."
In his address before conferring the degrees of the graduating class, President Leonidas Phoebus Koskos acknowledged that the day was indeed a momentous one for the graduates, adding that the trials and judgment that they had passed in reaching this milestone of achievement were echoed in the test that he and Hellenic American University/Hellenic American College as a whole would now undergo on their behalf. "You are the criterion of our School's success," he said. "You represent the real value of our diploma." He called upon the graduates to bear witness to the mission of Hellenic American University/Hellenic American College and through their work and contribution to the community, to confirm the value of their degree and contribute to its broadest recognition.
Image: Hellenic American College Commencent Day 2016