By: Aris Michopoulos, Ph.D.
It looks like yesterday but 33 years have passed since Paul Kotrotsios published the first edition of Hellenic News. Armed with his vision to unite the Omogeneia and promote business among the Greek-Americans and Greeks and with a solid educational background in business and communications Paul attempted and achieved the impossible dream. He started a new publication at the time when computers were in their infancy, money was tight and family needs high. But Paul had a vision, a plan and the will to make his dream come true.
Armed with his will and strong work ethic he plunged into this new endeavor and his publication known as Hellenic Times at that time, started with a number of 2,400 pieces to reach over 24,000 later on. And while in the beginning most of these editions were free, after three years they became paid issues.
Paul was not satisfied with a plain publication. His MBA taught him that the press can bring business and people together and promote commerce, international relations and human understanding across borders and nations. Thus on the 5th Anniversary of HNA, he started the First Hermes Expo on a grand scale using as his venue the famous Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Many more such Hermes Expos would follow and while they were mostly concentrated in New York and Philadelphia in the beginning, they expanded even to Chicago later on. Thus, Paul brought not only people and businesses but also cities together. In 2000 he initiated the sister city model by uniting Salonica with Philadelphia, both famous port cities, known for their economic dynamism, love for business and love for culture and human interaction.
Following the ancient Greek tradition of combining commerce, economy and education with the praise of the human spirit, Paul started a new initiative. He felt that his Hermes Expo should have an additional part, after all Hermes was not only KERDOOS but also LOGIOS Hermes, i.e. patron of profits but also of the spirit. And as Isocrates praises Athens for its multiple achievements in his Panegyrikos, claiming that it has become the School of Greece and the world, Paul initiated the creation of Educational Fora and related activities, as part of his Hermes Expos. Many educators from many states would attend those fora and enrich the Greek American education with their wisdom and experience. I was a participant in a few of those, myself.
And as part of this overall celebration of our achievements, he would initiate the awarding of special honors to members of our Omogeneia, who had offered special services to the Omogeneia and Hellenism at large. Thus on the 5th Anniversary of the HNA he started by honoring the late Eugene Rossides, a pillar of the Greek American and Cypriot Community and Dr. Takis Papadakis, President of Drexel University on the 10th and Emmanuel Stamatakis, a successful businessman and philanthropist on the 15th, and Archon Michael Psaros, a businessman and great philanthropist on the 30th.
Finally, Paul as a man with deep knowledge of business, politics and economics realized that their healthy combination would promote progress, human understanding and a healthy political environment. Thus one of his key concerns became the support of initiatives that would help Greek American and American politicians that support the rights of Greece and promote a strong bond between the USA, Greece and Cyprus.
After the completion of the biblical cycle of a generation, i.e. thirty years, Paul felt that the time had come for the new generation to take over. Thus with his blessings and support from the entire family his daughter Aphrodite, young, smart and beautiful, took the torch to continue this great tradition. Indeed, HNA is already on its path of bringing ever closer the Greeks of America with the Greeks of Greece and all those around the world, transmitting the Greek culture and spirit to all around the world.
“It is an immense honor to carry on the tradition of what my father started 33 years ago. I feel immeasurable pride knowing my father’s hard work, dedication, and perseverance has led the Hellenic News of America to be a unifying force for Hellenism in America. Hellenic News of America has grown to be an internationally recognized and trusted source for educational information and news pertaining to our Hellenic American and Philhellenic communities. Hellenic News of America is more than just a newspaper. It is the embodiment of the American Dream. My father came to this country 40 years ago, fulfilled his MBA, and poured his heart and soul into creating a business that would help bridge the Greek Diaspora of America with Greece and with one another. Hellenic News of America was built on Hellenic values and principles. Hellenic News of America constantly strives to unite, educate, inform, and inspire the Hellenic American community, ultimately, preserving the Hellenic Spirit in America. The response we have received from our community over the years is the engine that compels our commitment to continue in our mission. We truly are a labor of love; of our culture, of our heritage, of our values, and of our community. With the support that we receive from our sponsors, advertisers, and subscribers, we have been able to revolutionize our newspaper into an ever-evolving multifaceted media platform available in print, online, and on social media. I want to thank all of our sponsors, advertisers, subscribers, and readers of the Hellenic News of America. Cheers to the next 33 years!”
Best Wishes for a Happy and Long Life Aphrodite and HNA!