SAE News Hellenes Abroad / Greece The Greeks of California

Hellenes Abroad / Greece

Send | Print | RSS Hellenes Abroad / Greece '
The Greeks of California

Four distinguished figures from the Greek Diaspora of the United States, were honored by the American Hellenic Council of California. The organisation, as it was mentioned by the “Voice of America” deals with the promotion of democracy, human rights, peace and stability in South Europe and Eastern Mediterranean, placing specific emphasis on Greece and Cyprus, informing the American public opinion and bodies that form the policy of the United States on relevant current issues.

The 2010 Annual Honors Awards Dinner took place on the 17th of April in Los Angeles. The honorees were, Congresswoman Dina Titus, Third District of Nevada, (The Pericles Award), George M. Marcus, Founder and Chairman of the Marcus and Millichap Company Regent of the University of California (The Aristeio Award), Zoye Marino Fidler, Executive Producer, Co Founder and President Emeritus of the Greek Heritage Society (The Theodore Saloutos Award) and Demetrios Liappas, Director of the Basil P. Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies at Loyola Marymount University (The Theodore Saloutos Award).

The award ceremony was presented by the distinguished journalist of the Diaspora, News Director and TV Host, Vicky Liviakis.

Below you can find the short CVs of the Honorees:

George M. Marcus Entrepreneur/Businessman/Philanthropist,The Aristeio Award

Born George Moutsanas in 1941 in Euboea, one of the oldest-known confederations of Greek states in classical antiquity, he emigrated to the United States and in 1945 with his parents and sister, Orsa.

George M. Marcus graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from San Francisco State University in 1965; he was honored as Alumnus of the Year in 1989. Mr. Marcus is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School of Owners/Presidents Management Program and the Georgetown University Leadership Program.

He is the founder of The Marcus & Millichap Company and its chairman since 1971. The Marcus & Millichap Company is the parent company of a diversified group of real estate, service, investment and development firms. Mr. Marcus is also chairman of Essex Property Trust (a publicly held multi-family Real Estate Investment Trust).

Mr. Marcus was one of the original founders and directors of Plaza Commerce Bank and Greater Bay Bancorp, both publicly held financial institutions. Included among Mr. Marcus’ professional memberships are the Board of Regents of The University of California, the Apartment Industry Foundation in which he currently serves on the board of directors, the Real Estate Roundtable and the Policy Advisory Board of the University of California at Berkeley – Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. He currently serves as an Advisor on the Strategic Review Committee for CalPers; the largest pension fund in the world.

George Marcus serves on the Board of Directors of the Modern Greek Studies Foundation at San Francisco State University, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), Leadership 100, The Elios Society and the National Hellenic Society.  He is also a member of FAITH and AHEPA. He received the high Offikion of Archon Exarchos in 1991 by His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York.

He co-founded and served as president of DYNAMIS; the political action committee to promote Greek-Americans for elected office. His many awards include the Oxi Day Award, Axion Award, Elios Cultural Achievement Award, Patriarch Athenagoras Humanitarian Award and Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce; Person of the Year. George Marcus and his wife, Judy live in Los Altos Hills, California.  They have four children: Mary Jane, John, Demetra and Alexandria.

Demetrios Liappas, Director of the Basil P. Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies at Loyola Marymount University, The Theodore Saloutos Award

Demetrios Liappas was born in Nestorio, Kastoria, in northern Greece, and raised in Thessaloniki.  He arrived in the United States in 1956, making his home in Cleveland, Ohio.  He attended Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) and graduated from the Ohio State University in Columbus with a degree in Mathematics.

After graduation, he worked for many years for Westinghouse, General Electric and Honeywell Corporations.  In 1968, Demetrios moved to Los Angeles where he has lived ever since.  In the academic year 1972-73, he began teaching Modern Greek at Loyola Marymount University, invited to join the faculty by the late Professor of Humanities, Hugh Gray.

With late Professor Gray and late Peter B. Caloyeras, Demetrios is one of the founders of the Basil P. Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies at LMU. The Center continues to flourish today introducing Modern Greece to new generations of students.  During his tenure as Director of the Center,  which began in 1980, he has brought many notable scholars, theologians and artists to the campus both for special lectures and to teach courses offered by the Center.

These include, among others, the late Athan Karras, the late Fr. George Venetos, and the current faculty: Fr. John Bakas and Dr. Christina Bogdanou. With the help of the Caloyeras family and members of the Greek American community the Center established an endowment which needs to grow to support all its academic activities.

Other accomplishments include the establishment of a Minor in Modern Greek Studies, and the Odyssey Program, LMU’s Summer Study in Greece, which brings about twenty- five students to Greece for an intensive five- week study of Greek History, Literature and the Arts. Demetrios is happiest in the classroom.  Every semester, he teaches two or three courses drawn from the topics of Modern Greek language, literature, history, and culture.

Demetrios was involved in the establishment of the Save Cyprus Council (now The American Hellenic Council) and has remained active throughout its history. He has also been a member of the Greek Heritage Society of Southern California since its inception. He is a member of AHEPA and a member of the Saint Sophia Cathedral Parish. Demetrios is on the Advisory Board of the Huffington Ecumenical Institute at LMU and in the Spring 2009 semester, served as its Acting Director.

Zoye Marino Fidler, Executive Producer / Co-Founder and President Emeritus of the Greek Heritage Society, The Theodore Saloutos Award

Zoye Fidler is a native of Seattle. Her parents were Marino Marinopoulos from Bouyati Arcadia in the Peloponnese and Erene Frangopoulou from the Island of Leros Dodecanese. She attended Queen Anne High School and the University of Washington.  Ms. Fidler is the mother of three children: William Marino Fidler, Zoye Erene Marinopoulou and James Anthony Marinopoulos and two granddaughters: Anne and Amelia Fidler.

She was active in the Greek community in Seattle and began her love of documenting oral histories of her heritage by conducting several interviews for the 40- year anniversary of the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Seattle.  She was the founder of the Greek folkdance group “Levendia” in Seattle, and co- editor of the cookbook “The Key to Greek Cooking,” first edition.

In 1985 Zoye Marino Fidler co-founded the Greek Heritage Society of Southern California, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the Greek culture by documenting histories of early Greek immigrants. She served as president for 20 years, recently retiring from that post.

In the early years of the Greek Heritage Society Ms. Fidler focused on interviews of the pioneers who first came to the United States and who lived throughout southern California. In later years she focused on Greek immigrants who came after World War II as well as Greek Americans, to present a more complete picture of the Greek experience in southern California. Ms. Fidler is presently working to establish an archive and resource center for the display of historical documents and folk art treasures of the Greek culture.

Ms. Fidler has also planned and produced major exhibits and programs held at various sites in the southern California area. She has interviewed several hundred Greek immigrants on video and participated in the development of musical productions, “Ekdromi:  A Festive Greek Outing,” and “Ekdromi: A Greek Folkloric Celebration.” Ms. Fidler was instrumental in producing the seminars that focus on Greek-American citizens; “Yiorti: A Celebration of Greek Womanhood” and “Modern Greek-American Women.”

She is the executive producer of the award-winning documentaries “The Greeks of Southern California – Through the Century: The Pioneers 1900 – 1942” and “The Promise of Tomorrow 1940-1960”.  In addition, Ms. Fidler was Chair of a historical exhibit for the 36th Biennial Clergy- Laity Congress held June 2002 and assisted in the historical exhibit of Saint Sophia Cathedral’s 50th Anniversary. She was an aide to the Greek Olympic Team during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and in 1989 she visited Cyprus as part of the “Women Walk Home” program.

Over the years, Ms. Fidler has generously given much of her time and knowledge of Greek cultural issues to the community.  She continues her role on the Greek Heritage Society board as an interviewer and chairing screening opportunities of their documentary “The Promise of Tomorrow:  1940 – 1960” throughout the United States.

Congresswoman Dina Titus, Third District of Nevada, The Pericles Award

Dina Titus has dedicated her entire professional life to education and public service. She has taught American and Nevada government at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for 30 years. She represented the people of Senate District 7 in the Nevada Legislature since 1988, serving as the Democratic Minority Leader from 1993 – May 2008.

Rep. Titus was elected to the US House of Representatives from Nevada’s Third Congressional District in November, 2008.  She serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as the Education and Labor Committee and the Homeland Security Committee. 

Dina has also sought to protect Nevada’s most vulnerable citizens – children, seniors, and the disabled by helping low-income citizens through various programs. She has been a strong advocate of education at all levels and a supporter of developing renewable energy resources by successfuly pushing legislation to establish REP standards for utilities.

Family Background

Dina (short for Constandina) grew up in the small community of Tifton, Georgia, where her Greek grandfather ran a restaurant.  There was no Greek school or church, however, and the family had to drive 125 miles away to Jacksonville, Florida, to get feta and olives.

Dina learned from a close-knit family the value of community involvement and was introduced to politics at an early age.  On the Titus side, her uncle served in the Georgia Legislature as a Republican and her father ran for a seat on the Tifton City Council.  He went on to serve as the Head of the Building and Safety Departments for both Tifton and Henderson, NV. Additionally, the “coffee table” in her Papu’s downtown restaurant was always occupied by local politicos arguing about current issues.

Education & Professional Career

Dina’s high school years included cheerleading and tap dancing, in addition to her studies.  A dedicated student, Dina attended a summer program at the historic College of William and Mary and did so well that she was admitted full time for the fall – without a high school diploma.  Attending school in the heartland of American democracy during the height of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War inspired Dina to study Political Science and engage others in the critical issues of a changing world.

After earning her Bachelor’s degree from William and Mary, Dina went on to earn a Master’s degree from the University of Georgia and a Doctorate from Florida State University.

She taught for a year at North Texas State University in Denton and then moved to Nevada to accept a faculty position at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  Over the past 30 years, a virtual who’s-who in government, public service, and legal circles has studied with Professor Titus, whose classes consistently rank among the most popular offerings on the campus.

In 1987, Dina decided to put theory into practice and run for elected office.  Her 20 years in the State Senate have brought the richness of first-hand experience to her classroom.

Dina also created and continues to coordinate the Legislative Internship Program at UNLV, which each session affords the opportunity for a group of students to work at the Legislature in Carson City.

Adventures around the globe

Dina has been married to Professor Thomas C. Wright for over 28 years.  Wright’s studies in his field of expertise – Latin American History – have taken the couple on extended journeys to Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Spain.  Tom received the prestigious UNLV Distinguished Professor award in 2008. John Wright Hall on campus is named for his father, a Civil War historian and early pioneer at UNLV.

Dina and Tom share a love of travel, global culture and folklore – and include among their favorite destinations Spain and France.  She has visited Taiwan and Siberia as a legislative liaison.  

And as a scholar and legislator, Dina has particularly enjoyed visits to Greece – the birthplace of democracy as well as the source of her personal lineage as a Greek-American.  Her grandfather, Arthur Costandinos Cathones, after whom she is named, came to America in 1911, landing at Ellis Island.  Dina honored the life and memory of her grandfather by purchasing a brick with his name on it at the restored Ellis Island.

Fully embracing her Hellenic heritage, she has visited Athens, Meteora, Delphi, and many of the beautiful islands, gaining a deeper understanding of the country’s regions, ruins, museums, and cuisine.  As a proud Greek, Dina has spoken out in favor of Hellenism in the classroom and in the Nevada legislature where she has sponsored resolutions honoring the consecration of the new Greek church in Las Vegas and recognizing that Macedonia is Greek.

She is committed to reunifying Cyprus, protecting the ecumenical patriarchate in Constantinople and maintaining the Greek sanctity of the name and symbols of Macedonia.  Dina attends the St. John the Baptist Church in Las Vegas and keeps in close touch with her fellow members of the Greek community.

Dina’s travels have not only brought unforgettable personal experiences, but have also informed her research and teaching with the perspective of numerous cultural viewpoints and political systems.

Voting record on Hellenic Issues

Ever since taking her seat in Congress, Dina has supported the resolutions that the American Hellenic Council has advocated for. She is currently a co-sponsor of H.R. 236 calling for protecting the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and HR 486 calling for FYROM to negotiate in good faith with Greece in resolving the “Macedonia” name issue. Finally, she has repeatedly supported our positions in calling for justice and peace in Cyprus recognizing historical truths and the travesty of 35 years of division and suffering in the mediterranean island.

Caption: Zoye Fidler
Source: American Hellenic Council of California

Share |

Hellenes Abroad / Greece

Voices & visions Melbourne, 09.02.2012