The Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2018 of Perrotis College was held on 8 June on the John Moscahlaidis Plateia in front of Princeton Hall. Graduates and their families, as well as faculty, staff and Trustees had the honor of welcoming Dr. Laurie Leshin, President of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, to give the commencement address. Audiences were visibly moved by the heartfelt words of praise and encouragement as well as the wishes for personal success and positive contribution to the community.
American Farm School and Perrotis College President Dr. Panos Kanellis pointed in his remarks that Perrotis College is - undoubtedly - among the top educational institutions focused on the agri-food sector in the area. He made a special reference to the 1st International Olive Center Conference, which was held in May and was organized by the Krinos Olive Center, as well as other important collaborations of Perrotis College, such as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and TAP. "Perrotis College has established dynamic partnerships with some of the top US universities. WPI is one of them. It is obvious that the ties between the two institutions are strong and we are working hard to make them even stronger", he concluded.
Dr. Leshin’s inspirational speech had a sense of… space. She is an accomplished academic and administrative leader, geo-chemist, and space scientist. Before joining WPI, she was the deputy director of NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate; the Dee and John Whiteman Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Geological Sciences at Arizona State University; and dean of the School of Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she also continued her work as a scientist for the Mars rover Curiosity mission. She is a recipient of NASA’s Outstanding Leadership and Distinguished Public Service Medals, and the Meteoritical Society’s Nier Prize. She has also served on the board of directors of Women in Aerospace, and on the Council of the American Geophysical Union.
"You certainly inherit an imperfect world. A planet, a society, with flaws. But I have faith in you. You have the vision. You have the intelligence, and the drive. And if you can you think big, pursue audacious ideas, and do so with passion and commitment, mind-blowing things are possible", she said addressing the graduating class. "You can change your community, your country, your planet, even outer space. You can change the trajectory we are on. You can launch the next moonshot. You can do it, and we are counting on you".
Perrotis College Academic Dean Dr. Athanasios Tsaftaris addressed the necessity for continuous learning. "The degree you received is very important, but it is only the beginning of a learning process that should last. Let this degree be the first step towards a lifelong learning process!" he said.
Olga Papandreou, Perrotis College alumna, talked about her journey from a small village in northern Evia to the John Deere headquarters. "Today you receive your diploma and your ticket to a brighter future. But don’t settle; the journey is just starting and no one guarantees it will be an easy one. But never stop learning, never stop trying for the best, stay positive and motivated and you will surely get rewarded ", she said.
School of Professional Education Dean Dr. Evangelos Vergos addressed the graduates of the “Contemporary Agricultural Practices” program, who also graduated, inviting them to open the doors of their professional life, become visionaries and lay the foundations for their careers. "Your choice to come to the American Farm School was the right one. It is a unique educational institution that offers fundamental opportunities for a productive future career with social aspects. Sciences and technology will always dominate the evolution of the agricultural sector. The implementation of sustainable innovation will require the presence of a leader - a graduate of the American Farm School and Perrotis College", he concluded.
Trustee Mr. Thanasis Martinos awarded the “Athinoula A. Martinos Endowed Professorship” that he established himself to Perrotis College Professor Dr. Avraam Mavridis.