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The Foundation Presents 2016 Paradigm Award Honoree John S. Koudounis, CEO, Calamos Investments


The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation is proud to announce that John S. Koudounis, CEO of Calamos Investments is the 2016 Paradigm Award honoree. The award will be presented at the upcoming gala on Saturday, June 18, at the Ritz-Carlton, Chicago.


Koudounis, a Chicago native, is an exemplary businessman living the American Dream. From his humble background, he has rapidly risen through the ranks to achieve extraordinary success as a leader in the financial industry. In March 2016, he became the Chief Executive Officer of Calamos Investments.


"I am honored and humbled to be this year’s PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation Paradigm Award honoree," said Koudounis. "Throughout my life, I have been guided by the values of my Hellenic upbringing, including the belief that education provides an important stepping stone for achievement. Like so many, I am inspired by the generous philanthropy and love of education demonstrated by the late Mr. Chris Tomaras, founder of the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation."


Koudounis' grandparents emigrated from Sparta, Greece in 1900 and his grandfather made a modest living selling hot dogs outside of Wrigley Field in Chicago. His father, George, eventually expanded the family business by opening a drive-in and investing in real estate. Koudounis became the first in his family to attend college when he enrolled at Brown University, where he played football. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and international diplomacy and foreign affairs.


Prior to joining Calamos Investments, Koudounis was the President and CEO of Mizuho Securities USA Inc., a subsidiary of the Japanese bank, Mizuho Financial Group. In 2008, Koudounis became the youngest CEO of any Wall Street firm when he assumed the leadership role at Mizuho at age 44. The "gregarious Greek American" executive, as he was described in Forbes, built the firm into one of the strongest contenders on Wall Street. In his first year at the helm, his division made more than the entire firm did in that year, dispelling any rumors that Mizuho could not be taken seriously as an investment firm.


In addition to being an accomplished financial leader, Koudounis is also a much sought after public speaker, appearing frequently on financial news programs, including CNN, Fox Business, CNBC, and Bloomberg TV, among others. He is a member of the Leadership Council of the Concordia Summit and Bretten Woods, as well as a board member of the National Hellenic Museum and the Hellenic Initiative. In April 2016, Koudounis was honored at the CollegeBound Initiative in New York. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Joanne, and their twin daughters, Constance and Demi.


The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation is proud to honor John Koudounis with the 2016 Paradigm Award. His success in the business world, along with his profound love and respect for his family, his faith, and his Greek heritage make Koudounis an ideal example and an inspiring role model for our scholarship recipients.


In honor of our forty outstanding Greek-American undergraduate students and our Paradigm Award honoree, John S. Koudounis, we invite you to attend our annual Awards Ceremony and Gala on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the Ritz-Carlton, Chicago. For additional event details and to purchase tickets, call (312) 357-6432 or visit


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