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Foundation Announces Paradigm Award Recipient, Entertainment, & Emcee for Gala on Saturday, June 16, 2012


The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation is proud to announce its 2012 Paradigm Award recipient is acclaimed writer, director, producer, and two-time Academy Award winner Alexander Payne. The Paradigm Award is presented annually to a distinguished Greek American whose career and accomplishments are a testimony to the Foundation's mission, and who serves as an example for our students to follow. 


Alexander Payne (Konstantinos Alexander Papadopoulos) is an Omaha native, born to Greek parents. He received his MFA in film from UCLA, and his work is known for capturing the ordinary moments of life, making them extraordinary. "Well that's what life is—this collection of extraordinary moments—we just need to wake up and pay attention to how beautiful it all is," said Payne in an NPR interview. Payne's latest film The Descendants (2011) was nominated in multiple categories at the Academy Awards and walked away with the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. His heartwarming acceptance speech ended with the dedication of the award to his mother, along with «σε αγαπώ πολύ» in Greek.


This was the sixth nomination for Payne, who made his feature film debut in 1996 with Citizen Ruth.  His other films include Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002), and Sideways (2004). His films have won awards at the Golden Globes, the Writers' Guild of America, and the New York Film Critic's Circle.  They have also appeared at the Cannes Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and the Thessaloniki Film Festival among others. For more on Alexander Payne's latest film follow this link


Entertainment will be provided by world renowned singer Petros Gaitanos. Petros was born in Drama, Greece, and studied at the Hellenic Conservatory in Athens where he received his degree in Byzantine and European music. He has enjoyed successes with numerous best-selling CD's and has worked with some of the world's most celebrated composers including Yiannis Spanos, Christos Nicolopoulos, Arletta, and Mikis Theodorakis to name a few. 


Petros Gaitanos has also served as the artistic director of the Karipeion Melathron in Thessaloniki, Greece, a historic Ottoman-era building which now serves as the home to the Institute of National and Religious Studies. He has recorded music representing many different cultural regions including Asia Minor, Constantinople, the Aegean, and Pontus. Petros Gaitanos is one of the few singers who transfers the enlightening power of centuries-old Byzantine music and ecclesiastical hymns to a modern audience. To read more about Petros Gaitanos visit his official website at


The evening's Master of Ceremonies is Chicago's very own Dean Richards, Emmy-award winning entertainment anchor at WGN-TV and WGN-Radio 720.  Over the span of his career Dean has covered the entertainment and lifestyle scene including movies, theater, food and dining. He is also an ardent philanthropist, lending coverage and support to multiple causes including Breast Cancer awareness and issues relating to HIV/AIDS. Dean received his Broadcast Communications/Marketing degree from Columbia College and has also hosted a nationally syndicated morning radio program for the ABC radio network.  For more on Dean Richards click here.


Saturday, June 16, 2012 - The Awards Ceremony will kick-off the evening at the historic Merle Reskin Theatre, where 40 deserving students will receive a total of $250,000 in scholarships, followed by cocktails, dinner and dancing across the street at the Hilton Chicago.  Guests will also enjoy a one-of-a-kind Silent Auction where they can bid on luxurious getaways, sporting events, fine jewelry, and much, much more!  For additional event information please call 312.357.6432.