Maria West Lifetime Achievement Award

Established as a tribute to the visionary founder of The American College of Greece, this prestigious award celebrates a remarkable Alumnus/a who has left an important legacy (or mark) through a lifetime of extraordinary achievements embodying the values and principles that guided the founders of ACG and continue to inspire the institution to this day: an unwavering commitment to excellence and a profound sense of service to the community.

Athina Martinou

Athina Martinou, born on August 2, 1927, in Athens, Greece, comes from a family with a distinguished background. Her father, Constantinos Methenitis, was a prominent lawyer in Athens, and her mother, Emma, had roots in Constantinople. Athina's maternal grandfather, Kleovoulos Kokkolatos, was a respected doctor, Archon of the Patriarchate, and a philanthropist in Constantinople.

The family moved to Athens in 1922, settling in St. Irini Square, with a summer house in Glyfada by the sea. During World War II, Athina and her brother Meletis aided close friends and neighbors of Jewish origin and were members of the EPON Youth movement. Growing up near the sea had a profound impact on Athina and her brothers, Meletis and Kleovoulos. Meletis became a shipping lawyer, and Kleovoulos pursued a career as a sea captain.

After graduating from Pierce in 1945, Athina worked in her father's law practice. She was a sports enthusiast, excelling in tennis, mountain skiing, hunting, and fishing. In 1949, she married antique dealer Ioannis A. Martinos and had four children.

Athina is multilingual, speaking English, French, Italian, and some Russian. She devoted herself to her children, instilling a love for the sea, nature, sports, and a strong work ethic.

In 1964, she encouraged her husband to enter the commercial shipping industry, leading to the purchase of their first cargo ship. Subsequently, they expanded their fleet. Athina relinquished her ownership in favor of her three sons, who managed a fleet of fifty ships by 1975.

In 1977, Athina became a widow at the age of 49. Despite her children's marriages and families, she remained dedicated to them, never remarrying. Athina worked at the family company, THENAMARIS, until 2019, handling legal matters and overseeing her daughter Eleni's shipping interests.

Throughout her life, Athina has served as an inspiration to her four children, 14 grandchildren, and 33 great-grandchildren.


Athina Martinou

Arts and Culture Award

This category awards an alumnus/a or an individual who has significantly influenced arts and culture. This award acknowledges and celebrates the role that the individual artist, art educator, artistic creator or performer plays through his/her work or by facilitating and promoting the artistic efforts of others as well as cultivating community engagement in the arts. It includes performing, visual, literary, media, architectural or performing arts.  

Sophia Kalogeropoulou

Sophia Kalogeropoulou is well-known to a wide audience for her distinctive Naif painting style, often associated with self-taught artists characterized by directness and genuine, natural expression. Her art, akin to a child's boundless imagination on canvas, combines a surrealistic touch with the comforting embrace of Naiveism that is reminiscent of folk-art embroidery. Her paintings’ titles convey the important role of the narrative in Sophia’s work, as well as her positive view of life.

Born in Athens, Greece, in 1946, Sophia is a graduate of The American College of Greece (Pierce College) and has studied Law and Political-Economic Sciences at the University of Athens. She also pursued music studies at the Athens Conservatory and the Vienna State Opera Studio (Austria) and performed as a soloist at the Vienna State Opera (1976-77).

In the realm of painting, she is self-taught and has participated in many art exhibitions in Greece and internationally, including Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, Turkey, and the USA. She is a collaborator of the "Gallery Naifs and Primitifs" in Paris. Sophia was married to composer-musicologist Takis Kalogeropoulos (1946-2009) and is the mother of two daughters, Dione and Daphne.


Sophia Kalogeropoulou

Business Award

This category awards an alumnus/a or an individual who is widely renowned for their leadership and unwavering dedication to excellence within the field of business. Leveraging their remarkable achievements and profound business acumen, they actively drive transformative change, forge new opportunities and are actively involved in their community.  As exceptionally creative individuals, they have embraced innovative strategies to effectively launch, manage, expand, or revitalize businesses, products, or services.  

Elena Chouliara

Elena Chouliara was born in Athens. She holds a degree in Law from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, as well as a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from Alba Graduate Business School. 

Elena has a long career in the pharmaceutical industry that started immediately after she graduated from ALBA in 2001 when she joined the Danish pharmaceutical Novo Nordisk.  At Novo Nordisk, she held positions of increasing responsibility at regional and global levels, both in Greece and abroad. She joined the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical AstraZeneca in 2011, where she held senior commercial positions in Greece in the therapy areas of Cardiology, Diabetes, Respiratory and Oncology. She was appointed President and Managing Director of AstraZeneca Greece & Cyprus in December 2016, a position she holds until today.  Through her role, she participated in the national effort to deal with the pandemic in Greece and supported the national vaccination program.

Since 2017, she has served as a Board Member of the Pharmaceutical Industry Associations, supporting innovation and advocating for the creation of a sustainable and resilient healthcare system in Greece.

Elena is married and has two children. 

Elena Chouliara

Vassilios Katsos

Vassilios Katsos was born in Athens in 1973. He graduated from Pierce College and continued his studies at the University of Athens School of Pharmacy.

He is the Chairman and Co-founder of VNK Capital, one of the prominent investment groups in Greece with an active portfolio of fast-growing companies in various sectors. The group has invested in companies such as Lamda Development, PALIRIA, Innovis Pharma, Ideal Group, and Optima Bank, among others. 

Vassilios is an experienced investor and entrepreneur with successful investments in various sectors, such as Healthcare, Real Estate Development, and the Food Industry. 

He started his entrepreneurial career at Pharmathen in 1993 following his father’s demise, where he led the strategic refocusing of the company from a family business to a leading international pharmaceutical company. Today, Pharmathen is a major R&D-focused global pharma company with an impressive technology portfolio and international presence owned by Partners Group.

Through his entrepreneurial activity, Vassilios has received numerous prestigious distinctions, including the Greek “EY Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 2008, among many others.


Vassilios Katsos

Nelly Katsou

Member of the Board of Pharmathen S.A.

Nelly Katsou was born in Athens in 1965. In 1989, she graduated from the University of Athens School of Pharmacy. 
She started her career in 1990 by establishing the pharmaceutical company Pharmanel SA, where she was Managing Director until 2003. Concurrently, she was also a major shareholder and CEO of Pharmathen S.A. until 2019, a pharmaceutical company that is Greece’s largest private research company and one of the largest R&D companies in Europe.
During her career, she held various positions and memberships:
- Vice President of the Board of Directors of Hellenic Management Association (EEDE)
- Member of the Board of SEV (Hellenic Federation of Enterprises)
- Member of “Supporters Club” of Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research (IOBE)
- Member of Advisory Board of ESAA 
- Member of “Innovation – Education – Entrepreneurship Committee” of the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
- Member of W.I.B. Committee (Women in Business) of the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce
- Member of National Council for Research, Technology and Innovation
Presently, she is:

- Vice President and Co-Founder of VNK CAPITAL

- Member of Advisory Board of EGG (Enter-Grow-Go)

- Member of BAC (Business Advisory Council) of the Athens University of Economics & Business – MBA International

- Member of ICC Hellas (International Chamber of Commerce)

- Member of ELEPAP (Hellenic Society for the Protection & Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons)

- Member of AXION HELLAS

She is married and mother of two children, 31 & 32 years old.

Nelly Katsou

Nikos Koumettis

President, Europe Operating Unit, The Coca-Cola Company

Nikos Koumettis is the President of the Europe Operating Unit at The Coca-Cola Company, where he oversees 40 countries.

Nikos joined Coca-Cola in 2001 as General Manager for Greece and Cyprus, and since then, has built a wealth of experience in several international roles, including President of the Adriatic and the Balkans, President of Southeast Europe, President of the Canada Business Unit and President of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

He began his career in Marketing and Sales, working for Kraft Jacobs Suchard, Elgeka and Papastratos / Phillip Morris.

Nikos is a member of the Board of Directors of Canada Goose International as well as a trustee of The American College in Greece and a Chair of the Board for Société BIC. He holds a Master of Science degree in International Marketing from Strathclyde Business School and a B.Sc. in Business Administration from The American College of Greece.

Nikos is passionate about youth empowerment. He is the co-founder - together with Global Shapers (Athens Hub) - of the social initiative ‘Regeneration’, which aims to strengthen the skills of young people in Greece and place talented graduates in the labor market.

Nikos is a Greek-Cypriot, born in Sudan and raised in Greece. He is married to Sarita Chaim and they have two children, Petros and Felicia. He is an avid skier and sailor.

Nikos Koumettis

Social Impact Award

The Social Impact Award acknowledges the exceptional efforts of alumni or individuals who have made a significant positive impact on society. It celebrates their contributions, demonstrating a genuine commitment to philanthropy, community service, and driving meaningful change. Through their work and utilization of personal resources, the awardee has made a substantive difference in the lives of individuals and communities. Their efforts serve as an inspiration, motivating others to contribute their time, skills, and resources to create a positive social impact. This award honors these individuals for their exceptional service and exemplification of the values of philanthropy and community engagement. Their work showcases the transformative power of individual action and serves as a reminder of the collective responsibility we all share to create a better and more equitable world.

Vana Lavidas

Born and raised in Athens, Vana Lavidas holds a B.Sc. in Economics from Deree - The American College of Athens and an MBA from La Verne University. Her deep-rooted connection to culture and the extended community has instilled in her a profound commitment to the well-being of the people in need and the promotion of the Greek cultural heritage. 

Having a strong passion for philanthropy and a proven track record of making a positive impact in the world through charitable work, Vana chairs the Board of Directors of the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Greece (MDA Hellas) since 2000. She is the Founder of the Association for the care and welfare of those with neuromuscular disorders and is extremely proud that within 23 years of action, MDA Hellas has created and equipped four special medical care units in key state hospitals in major cities, such as Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras. It has also founded and operates the “Home of MDA Hellas,” specially designed to allow easy access to patients, located in the heart of Athens. At the “MDA Home,” patients can enjoy training, educational, therapeutic and entertainment sessions with the aim to provide a better quality of life. Today, MDA Hellas supports more than 1,500 families across the country.  

Seeking further opportunities to contribute to efforts that create positive change and community betterment, she is also a founding member of the Friend’s Association of Children with Cancer “Elpida,” where she has been seated for nine years on the Board of Directors. Being personally interested in Arts and aiming to foster appreciation for artistic expression, Vana is also a board member of the Friends of National Art Gallery in Athens. 

From 2013 until 2022, she was a Trustee member of The American College of Greece (ACG). She is also Vice President of the Board of Lavipharm, the family company founded in 1911, which is the only Greek pharmaceutical company listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. Lavipharm today is a dynamic, international healthcare company driven by creativity and innovation, always striving to provide access to improved healthcare solutions. It is a company with a strong focus on Values: Integrity, Entrepreneurship, Excellence and Care that guide and support the fulfillment of its mission. 

Vana has a family of four children and four grandchildren. She follows a healthy lifestyle and she loves sports such as tennis and swimming. Keen on outdoor activities, such as running, she is a more than once Marathon runner. 


Vana Lavidas

Lena Papalexopoulou

Lena Papalexopoulou opted to pivot from a long-standing career in the private sector to devote herself to serving the common good, focusing on education and engagement.

Lena is the Vice-President of Desmos Non-Profit Foundation, a pioneering hub for charitable giving, the Chair of Tufts University’s International Board of Advisors, a Board Member of Columbia University’s CAA, a Trustee of College Year in Athens, a Board Member of the Phylactopoulos Foundation, and an active facilitator for higher education.

One of the most impactful contributions of her multifaceted work stems from her unequivocal belief in education’s crucial role in forging a better future: It is the conception and co-implementation of “I Care and Act,” a visionary educational program that empowered 5% of students in Greece to become civic-minded, a program that was later adopted by the national Greek schooling system.

In the past, Lena served on “Repositioning Greece,” a team that advised the government on the country’s image and strategic planning and held positions of increasing responsibilities at the European Union, Merrill Lynch, Johnson & Johnson, as well as Concept SA, where she was President and CEO. She also served on boards of consumer-goods companies, the Spanish-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and the Greek National Federation of Retail Businesses. She has been a guest speaker in several schools, fora and conferences.

Lena, a Pierce graduate, holds a B.A. with honors in Economics and Business from Lafayette College, a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and an Advanced Executive Management degree from IMD.


Lena Papalexopoulou

Education and Science Award

This award recognizes an alumnus/a or an individual who has made remarkable contributions to the field of education and has empowered young individuals and fostered innovation, both locally and globally. With practical expertise, research accomplishments, and educational leadership, they have played a pivotal role in cultivating progressive learning environments, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come.

Dr. Barbara Geladakis

Dr. Varvara Geladakis (Barbara) is a graduate of Pierce College and a Medical Doctor who has dedicated her career to the research of infertility. Throughout her years of specialization in Biopathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, her unwavering commitment to innovation has driven her to create a groundbreaking fertility solution with the potential to significantly improve the lives of numerous individuals. Through her pioneering work, she has developed a unique formula that has the potential to prevent immunological miscarriages and implantation failures, marking a remarkable advancement in the field. 

Barbara Geladakis’ innovation addresses a significant market gap and an opportunity to create uncontested market space with a novel treatment that caters to an entirely new set of customers and represents a monumental leap forward in reproductive healthcare, as it directly addresses the needs of approximately one-third of the global female population in reproductive age with unmet needs and 37,5% of all miscarriages. 

In 2018, she founded in New York, RODI FERTILITY, a company poised to revolutionize the distribution of her ground-breaking innovation and to redefine the industry boundaries, challenge traditional assumptions, as it has discovered significant unmet customer needs and invented a technology to serve them. In the face of skepticism and conventional wisdom, she dared to dream differently. With her patented technology, she is creating a completely new market, presenting a product that is First in Class and First to Market, covering a completely unmet need.

In 2019, she won the first scientific award from the Panhellenic Congress of Autoimmune Diseases, Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology for Significant outcomes related to the results of the clinical study using the patented technology product RODI NK plus. In 2020, RODI Fertility won the ENVOLVE Entrepreneurship Award, which singled her out among 800 start-up candidates for the innovation and business model. In 2021, her patented technology solution was included in the International medical book by Prof. Carp from Tel Aviv University, “Recurrent Pregnancy Losses”, as a novel treatment for miscarriages and in 2023, she passed the first stage of the EIC Accelerator with the comments that her patented technology is a’ Blue Ocean Innovation”. Today, RODI Fertility has Freedom To Operate and IPR granted in 48 counties. RODI Fertility has achieved a Technology Readiness Level (TRL9) and commenced global commercial operations at the end of 2022. 

Dr. Geladakis is a multilingual individual, fluent in Greek, English, Italian, Serbian, and German, with proficiency in several other languages. She has consistently engaged in humanitarian activities, providing assistance and support to those in need. Moreover, driven by a deep commitment to the common good and the welfare of the people since 2006, at a very young age, she was actively involved in politics, and in 2015, ran as a candidate for the Greek parliament.

Dr. Barbara Geladakis




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