The American College of Greece Awards AHI President Gene Rossides Honorary Degree
WASHINGTON, DC On June 25, 2005, the President of The American College of Greece, Dr. John S. Bailey, conferred upon American Hellenic Institute President Gene Rossides the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws during its commencement ceremony held at the Stadium of "Peace and Friendship" in Piraeus.
Mr. Rossides was honored for his "life’s work and dedication to principle and hard work for noble causes amidst the ambivalence of modern political discourse and action… his long and varied career in sports, law, politics, and political as well as community action which serve as an inspiration to younger generations of Americans and Hellenes and for all people of good faith and good intentions."
Mr. Rossides, in accepting the award, stated: "This award is particularly welcomed because it recognizes the important work of the American Hellenic Institute and its members and staff."
In presenting Gene Rossides with the honorary degree, Dr. John Bailey gave the following citation:
"You were born in Brooklyn, New York, of Greek American parents who instilled in you a love for both America, the land of your birth, and for your Hellenic heritage. You went on to brilliant studies at Columbia University, in New York City, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia College in 1949 and then, in 1952, a Juris Doctor degree at the internationally renowned Columbia Law School.
During your studies, you achieved something few young people ever manage: academic excellence combined with a brilliant athletic career. You served for four years as starting quarterback of the Columbia Lions famous team under the guidance of coach Lou Little, achieving feats that even today, more than fifty years later, are hard to replicate, and have become part of American football lore.
After graduation you practiced trade and tariff law at the renowned firm of Rogers & Wells, one of the most prestigious in the world, and became an expert in this critical specialty. You served justice in the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York, and in 1969, the President of the United States appointed you, and the United States Senate approved your appointment, to the position of Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, where you served until 1973. By becoming the first Greek American presidential appointee ever to be confirmed by the United States Senate, you became a symbol for the great achievements of generations of Greek immigrants and their offspring.
As Assistant Secretary for Enforcement, Trade and Operations, you oversaw critical operations especially in combating narcotics and international narcotics trafficking, which is one of modern society’s greatest menaces. You also ably discharged your duties as supervisor of the US Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the United States Customs Service, while making significant contributions to the fight against unfair trade practices and in taxation policy.
Your love of justice and of your heritage made you take a leading role in the long and hard effort to achieve a just resolution to the invasion and continuing occupation of northern Cyprus by Turkey. Immediately following the invasion of 1974, you formed the American Hellenic Institute and based your efforts on the blatant illegality of the act and the measures that you felt had to be taken by the United States in light of that illegality. It has been a long and difficult road, which has led you to challenge repeatedly the tendency towards accommodation with a status quo imposed by a brutal act of war.
Since its founding, the American Hellenic Institute has expanded its activities to become a focal point for cultural, social, intellectual, and public policy activity for thousands of Greek Americans across the United States. Also, AHI has contributed greatly in cementing good relations between Greece and the United States, relations based not only on common interests, but also on a common cultural heritage, and common sacrifices for the defense of liberty and democracy in the world.
And so, Eugene T. Rossides, by virtue of the authority vested in my by the Board of Trustees of The American College of Greece, I hereby confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, admitting you to all the rights, privileges, dignities and immunities thereunto appertaining. In witness thereof, I invest you with this hood and present you with this diploma."