Dear Members of the HPST, fellow recipients, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the committee for selecting me to receive this scholarship; I feel honored to be here today.
“There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university,” wrote John Masefield in his tribute to English universities. He did not refer to spires and towers, to campus greens and ivied walls. He admired the splendid beauty of the university, he said, because it was “a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see.” Continue reading
I first met Valentini in early 1988 at an event of the Hellenic Professional Society of Texas (HPST), one of the first times she participated at events with the Greek community of Houston. Valentini had already lived in Houston for many years and was a Professor of French at the University of Houston. However, only after her divorce from fellow-academic Patrick Brady – and a sabbatical sojourn at the University of Thessaloniki – did she actively seek out the Greek community.
It was immediately clear that this was going to be an important new friendship, not only to me but also for the broader membership of the Hellenic Professional Society of Texas and our friends. She radiated the light of a true scholar, the warmth of a genuine human being, and the resonance of someone who truly values friendship as a virtue. Excitedly I arranged a luncheon with her at “Hungry’s” at the Rice Village so as to introduce her to my two closest Greek buddies at Rice, David Moissis and Andreas Matzakos. It was the wonderful beginning of a beautiful friendship – per the very à propos movie line. Valentini unreservedly opened her home and her heart to us and to the many other friends that followed, nurturing our friendship warmly yet tactfully, allowing us to feel in equal parts respected, pampered and loved. Continue reading
Having the opportunity to be present in the September 18th general assembly at the Lakes of Parkway Clubhouse, was a pleasant change of pace in a summer marred with the sad news of two of our HPST members passing away. A lot of new, young people participated together with many of the HPST members (including one of our Society’s founders: Dr. George Kalfoglou) to open the 42nd year of activities of our society. We had the opportunity to welcome the new Consul of Greece, Mr. Ioannis Stamatekos, who gave a brief overview of his vision of the cooperation between the Consulate and the Greek societies in the Houston area and beyond. People from as far as College Station came to participate and, as it turns out, being eager to start a new effort to be part of the events at HPST. And of course, the open, joyful discussions after the general assembly, as everyone shared some great food and drinks during the traditional potluck. Continue reading
Is there anything better for children than spending a couple of hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon at a bookstore reading (or being read to) books? Yes, there is: GREEK BOOKS! HPST launched the Kid’s Greek Book Club, which will be held on a monthly basis at local area bookstores or volunteers’ homes. The purpose of this book club activity is for the kids to be immersed in the Greek language by a series of well-chosen activities: Continue reading
“Other countries may offer you discoveries in manners or lore or landscape. Greece offers you something harder – the discovery of yourself”, Lawrence Durrell in “Prospero’s Cell”
This fall, set your DVRs to record “The Durrells in Corfu” on Sundays, Oct 16-Nov 20 at 7pm on the PBS series MASTERPIECE (Channel 8). And then, come to the HPST Book Club to share your impressions and discuss the series and the books of Lawrence and Gerald Durrell. Continue reading
We lost a very special friend this week… Dionissis (Denis) Minetos. His untimely departure was a shock to all of us who knew him. It is difficult to part with such a dear friend whom I have known for more than thirty years. He was a person with a positive disposition, full of kindness, expressed in his ever-smiling face. Dionissis and Valarie were part of our small circle of friends. We have plenty of memories of spending time together, celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, partying, going camping, and playing soccer and basketball, among many other things. I used to at times affectionately call him “Dennis the menace” because of his passion and competitiveness at basketball, soccer, backgammon and pictionary (his drawings were legendary, causing us to die of laughter!…). Continue reading
Having been in your shoes as a recipient of a Scholarship from the Hellenic Professional Society of Texas almost twenty-nine years ago, I feel it is useful to share with you some thoughts from mine and my generation’s experiences over the last few decades. To that end, I have three messages for you.
Firstly, focus on what you do best so as to enjoy and master it, but also challenge yourselves with confronting your weaknesses because they are necessary for your maturity as persons, and as a source of goal-setting and fulfillment. Continue reading
Where would you see a bar sharing space with an in-house tailor? Or a former prison with windows overlooking a beautiful skyline? Or the hotel where President Kennedy had his last meal before heading to Dallas in November of 1963? We saw all these places in downtown Houston! We also heard wonderful anecdotes about our hometown by a knowledgeable guide who lead us through the downtown streets in a beautiful November day. Continue reading
As my nine years on the Hellenic Professional Society of Texas Board comes to a close, it has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as president, corresponding secretary and counselor. I have learned so much from our dynamic members: Maro & Petro Yuanidis, Anna Mavromatis, Costas Caracostis, Lena Patsidou, George & Margo Kalfoglou and the list goes on and on. Our Society is one of the great treasures of Houston. Not only do we organize events that promote Greek culture to the community, but we welcome the many Greek professionals relocating to our city from the U.S and abroad. Continue reading