BOSTON--The Alpha Omega Council, comprised of many of New England's leading professionals of Hellenic ancestry, will honor its latse foudner by presenting the 13th annual Peter Agris Memorial Scholarhsips to several young Greek Americans pursuing studies in the fields of journalism or communications.
The scholarships are given in honor of Peter Agris, founder and publisher of The Hellenic Chronicle, for 50 years the premier English-language national weekly newspaper for Americans of Greek ancestry. Past recipients have gone on to careers writing for several top national publications, co-writing a presidential memoire, as well as teaching in the fields of journalism and communications.
Among last year's recipients was a Ph.D. candidate in journalism who is slated to do doctoral research this summer at the University of Athens, as well as a former Senate press and a political sector intern at the U.S. Embassy in Athens.
Criteria for candidates includes: Greek American heritage; current full-time enrollment as a journalism or communications major at the graduate or undergraduate level in an accredited college or university in the United States; active participation in school, community, church organizations; a minimum 3.0 PA and demonstrated financial need.
THe $5,000 non-renewablre scholarships will be presented at the Alpha Omega Council's annual Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner in May, during which time a noted individual will be honored for his or her contributions to Hellenism and Orthodoxy.
Peter Agris was bon in Gloucester, Mass., and was raiseed in Cambridge, graduating from Rindge High School.
He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II and later attended Suffolk University and Boston University's School of Public Communication.
In September 1950, at the age of 24, he founded The Hellenic Chronicle, an English-language weekly newspaper targeting the Greek American community. The newspaper soon gathered a national following, making it the largest Greek American national weekly newspaper in the United States. It was filled with stories about personal achievements within the community, charitable causes, religious isues, social news, as well as current events in Greek politics and in U.S. policy toward the Mediterranean. It also followed the news of teh organizations that Peter Agris took pride in, like the American Hellenic Education Progressive Association (AHEPA) and the Alpha Omega Council, which he founded in 1976.
Agris, who died in 1989, had high standards as an individual and as a journalist. Early on, Archbishop Iakovos called upon The Hellenic Chronicle to guide the steps of future generations. And it did, for a half century, the last decade published by members of his family seeking to carry on those high standards.
On Sept. 20, 2000, the 50th anniversary of the newspaper, The Hellenic Chronicle published its final edition. With the changing times came changes in the lives of Agris family members.
However, with this scholarship, the Alpha Omega Council and the Agris fmaily seek to continue to h onor the great legacy Peter Agris has left to teh Greek American community and to the Greek Orthodox Church in America and to support young aspiring journalists of Hellenic ancestry.
The Alpha Omega Council's mission is to promote and encourage loyalty and patriotism in the United States; to cultivate the ideals of Hellenism; to constantly strive toward maintaining positive Greek-Americn relations; to unite Americans of Greek descent in fellowship and philanthropy; to help recognize the achievements of those who excel in their field individually or as a group; to help alleviate the wants of the poor and needy and to establilsh, maintain or aid religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational activities.
In recent years, the Alpha Omega Council has contributed more than a half million dollars to various charitable organizations.
Eligible candidates may requeswt an application by accessing the Alpha Omega Council's website at www.alphaomegacouncil.com or by writing to: The Peter Agris Memorial Scholarship Committee, c/o Nancy Agris Savage, 9 Nonesuch Drive, Natick, MA 01760.
Applications, transcripts and a required essay must be returned no later than March 1, 2005.