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Chicago's Very Own Dean Richards to Emcee 10th Annual Gala


As a young boy, Dean Richards, Emmy Award winning entertainment reporter for WGN TV/Radio, would play “radio station” downstairs in the basement of his parents' home.  Upstairs his yiayia would be shouting “go outside and play!” What began as a hobby has turned into a successful career in broadcasting for Dean.  He knows his grandmother would be very proud of him.


My grandmother was a very supportive influence in my life as is my mom,” says Richards.  “I learned from them the values of our Hellenic heritage and the strong work ethic we have as Greek Americans. They taught me that I could achieve anything I wanted if I worked hard and stayed focused.”


Dean Richards is this year's Master of Ceremonies of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation's Gala on Saturday, June 16, 2012 at the Merle Reskin Theatre and the Hilton Chicago. We very happy that Dean is going to be our Master of Ceremonies, says Chris P. Tomaras, Foundation Chairman.  He is very talented and we are proud of his accomplishments. I have known his family for many years,” continued Mr. Tomaras.


Dean grew up on the south side of Chicago, near the West Beverly neighborhood.  He graduated from Columbia College and began his career in 1975, working a variety of jobs at local radio stations.  The many different experiences gave him the opportunity to hone his broadcasting skills as well as learn about production and operations.  From 1985 until 1990, he doubled as operations manager and morning host at the Satellite Music Network based in Chicago's southwest suburbs.


In 1991, he joined WGN as a weekend host/staff announcer, while also working at WNUA-FM Radio.  Dean became host of WGN Radio's Sunday morning program in 1994.  His television debut was by “accident” when he was invited to be a guest commentator on WGN-TV.   Soon he began delivering weekly theater reviews that expanded to interviewing hundreds of celebrities, becoming a “star” entertainment reporter in Chicago.  In addition to winning an Emmy, Richards has won over 30 local and national awards for programming and production, including the prestigious Peter Lisagor Award for Outstanding Journalism.


“I like radio. You can do a more in-depth interview on radio.  TV is very fast paced, but I like the creative challenge,” says Dean.  When asked about his favorite guest celebrity interview, Richards says he has enjoyed all of them, but he has felt that his interviews with everyday cancer survivors are his best.


“What touches me most is when someone calls in after a program on breast cancer, domestic violence or the challenge of being HIV positive and says ‘thank you, your program helped save my life,” says Richards.  “It's a humbling experience. They have courage and character. I am glad that my programs made a difference.” Dean's annual breast cancer radio special has also won the Illinois Broadcasters Association's Silver Dome Award for Best Local Public Affairs Program for the last 11 years.  He is proud of his many charitable endeavors, supporting such organizations as the Howard Brown Health Center, Horizon Community Center, Gilda's House and Open Hand Chicago. 


I am very happy to be the Master of Ceremonies of the PanHellenic Scholarship Gala.  Education is important.  Mr. Tomaras has always been a philanthropic leader in our community. The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation is doing an excellent job of helping college students fulfill their dreams.  I was encouraged to pursue my dream.  Recently, my mom, who is 89 years old, said that she was thinking about my career and how proud she is that I did it on my own,” continued Richards.  


He encourages students to stay true to themselves and pursue the things that they like to do, while remembering that the values of our Hellenic heritage are a great foundation for achieving success.


Join Dean Richards on Saturday, June 16, 2012 in applauding and congratulating this year's PanHellenic Scholarship recipients. Click here to purchase your tickets or become a scholarship sponsor. For more information call (312) 357-6432.