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HCHC Celebrates 74th Commencement

Fifty-five students received degrees on Saturday from Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Twenty students received Bachelor of Arts degrees from Hellenic College and 30 received a Master in Theological Studies or a Master of Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Five students earned a Certificate in Byzantine Music.

Nearly 500 people attended commencement ceremonies, including His Eminence Geron Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America; Consul General of Greece in Boston, Ifigenia Kanara; members of the HCHC Board of Trustees, honorees, graduates and their families.

View more Commencement Week photos at hchc.smugmug.com.

Father Christopher T. Metropulos, DMin, President of Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, delivered the salutation. Dr. Thomas C. Lelon, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees, delivered greetings and congratulations from the Board of Trustees. The Holy Cross St. Romanos the Melodist Byzantine Choir provided magnificent music throughout the ceremonies.

Valedictorians Sarah E. Hunt, Hellenic College, and Reverend Deacon Lucas L. Christensen, Holy Cross, each addressed their classmates, offering words of encouragement for the future and gratitude for the academic and spiritual education they received at HCHC.

Ifigenia Kanara, Consul General for Greece in Boston, delivered the keynote address in both Greek and English. Drawing on her own personal experiences she urged the graduates to embrace what she believes are the most profound life lessons and why they are important to her personally, professionally and spiritually.

Honorary Degrees 

Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology awarded honorary degrees to three people for their extraordinary accomplishments and dedication to the Christian Orthodox Church and their Hellenic heritage.

His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios (Trambas) of Pisidia received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. He was the first Metropolitan of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Orthodox Metropolis of Korea serving from 2004 to 2008. The Metropolitan’s Diakonia in Christ has yielded not only new churches and monasteries, but countless baptisms and spiritual conversions among the people of Korea and Asia. His spiritual writings and sermons have enlightened the hearts and souls of all who with humility and love of Orthodoxy seek to come to a deeper understanding of Jesus Christ and the All-Holy Trinity. He was unable to attend the ceremonies but sent a videotaped message thanking HCHC for its gracious honor and praised the school for all it has accomplished.

Honorary Degree recipients Andreas G. Tzakis, MD, PhD, and George M. Marcus.

Andreas G. Tzakis, MD, PhD, a pioneering transplant surgeon, received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree for pioneering new surgical techniques which resulted in countless lives saved around the world. The founding director of the Miami Transplant Institute, Dr. Tzakis recently led the team that just completed the first successful uterine transplant surgery in the United States. In accepting his honorary degree, Dr. Tzakis told the graduates, “I want you to remember that this joyful day, that graduation, is not your destination; it is the bridge to fulfill your life’s goal—serving the community.” A tireless researcher who trains transplant surgeons around the world and has developed transplant programs in Greece, Brazil, and Israel, Dr. Tzakis is the recipient of several awards including the GABBY (Greek America’s Best and Brightest) Award in Science Medicine and the Consulate General of the State of Israel Humanitarian Award.

Also receiving an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree was George M. Marcus, a successful entrepreneur and deeply committed philanthropist. Mr. Marcus embodies the highest ideals of American society and the Orthodox Christian faith. Mr. Marcus told the graduates he credits his success to being bold and innovative when he first started out in business. “Open up your mind,” he told the graduates. “It’s all right in front of your nose every single day.”

Mr. Marcus is a committed member of Leadership 100, a co-founder of The Elios Society, and the founding chairman of the National Hellenic Society. His awards include the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and he was recently honored by the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco with the Theofanis Economides Award for his work on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Alumna of the Year

The HCHC Alumni Association also honored Kyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald, MDiv, PhD, Holy Cross adjunct professor of theology, with its Alumna of the Year. Dr. FitzGerald, a psychologist and prolific author, is an internationally respected authority on the theology of ordination in the Orthodox Church, especially as it pertains to the ministry of women.