Board of Trustees

Joan Menard, Chairperson. Ms. Menard is a former educator in the Somerset, Massachusetts school system.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1967 and a Master of Education degree in 1971 from Bridgewater State College.  In 1993, she received a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Education Administration from Boston College.  Ms. Menard was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 1999 and served as Majority Whip.  Senator Menard was appointed to the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) by the Governor in Sept. 2003. She became Chair of NEBHE at the 2008 Annual Board Meeting in Boston, and currently, she is a member of the NEBHE Executive Board.  Senator Menard retired from the Massachusetts State Legislature in 2010, and is now Vice President of Workforce Development, Lifelong Learning, Grant Development, and External Affairs at Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA.

Steven C. Panagiotakos, Vice Chair. Attorney Panagiotakos served seven terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. He was appointed Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means in March 2007. Chairman Panagiotakos was responsible for the oversight and development of the Commonwealth’s $26.8 billion dollar budget. He has a long history of community and political involvement, particularly in the area of education. Before being elected to the State Senate in 1997, he served two terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and two terms as a member of the Lowell School Committee. Attorney Panagiotakos attended Phillips Academy, received his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, and obtained a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School. He maintains a law practice not far from his home in Lowell, MA.

Donna M. Soucy, Secretary. Ms. Soucy is an attorney and Senator in the State of New Hampshire, with a long history of community and political involvement. Sen. Soucy is a former Chief of Staff of the New Hampshire State Senate, where she was charged with managing and supervising staff and advising members of the N.H. State Senate. In the past she has also served as Legal Coordinator and later as General Counsel of the State of New Hampshire Banking Department. Sen. Soucy received her Bachelor’s degree in Politics from Saint Anselm College, and obtained a Juris Doctorate from the University Of New School Of Law, formerly known as Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Aris Candris was president and CEO of Westinghouse Electric Company from 2008 to 2012. Prior to this, Dr. Candris served as senior vice president in charge of the Nuclear Services business unit first in 2000, and then resumed the role in 2004 after completing a special assignment as senior vice president, Operational Excellence, from June 2003 through August 2004, during which he developed the formative stages of the Westinghouse Customer 1st initiative. From 1996 to 1999, Dr. Candris was vice president and general manager of the Nuclear Services business unit; vice president of Nuclear Services operations; director of Nuclear Services projects; and, director of Nuclear Technology. Between 1980 and 1995, he managed Nuclear Technology and Nuclear Services organizations in the areas of operating plant marketing; strategic operations; nuclear safety analysis and strategic development; functional design; reliability technologies; and, reliability engineering. He began his Westinghouse career in 1975 as a senior engineer in the former Advanced Reactor Division. Dr. Candris holds a B.A. from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is on the boards of NiSource Inc., Kurion Inc., and The Hellenic Initiative, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Mellon and Transylvania University.

Nicholas Christodoulopoulos is a retired admiralty lawyer. He has been a ship-owner since 1973. He is President of Fidetrust Investments LTD., in London (UK), Vice-President of the Greek Tourist Ship-owners’ Association (2000-2015), and a member of the legal committee of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping for 18 years. He is also a member of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, New York. Dr. Christodoulopoulos earned a law degree from the University of Athens (L.L.B., 1960), a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Rome (scholarship 1963) and a LL.M. in Comparative Law from Columbia University ( fellowship 1966). He is also chairman of the Orama Foundation, a New York non-for-profit charity institution. He is a Greek- American residing in New York City.

George A. Gratsos is President of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping since 2004. Before that, he served as President from 1996 to 2000. He is a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the Union of Greek Ship-owners (UGS), President of the UGS Maritime Safety and Marine Environment Protection Committee, former Vice-President and current member of the BoD of HELMEPA (Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association), as well as a member of many other boards and organizations. Mr. Gratsos has been President of the U.K. Freight Demurrage and Defense Association, and Vice-President of BIMCO. He holds a BSc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from MIT, and a PhD in Shipping Market Dynamics from the University of the Aegean.

Gerry Kavanaugh is the founder of KSI and DCS, two Internet communications and software companies that provide online services to members of Congress, political candidates, non-profit organizations, and corporations across the country. He currently serves as President of Higher Education Partners, LLC, a venture formed in 2011 to provide expanded allied health programs for community colleges around the country. He served as Senator Edward M. Kennedy ’s Economic Policy Advisor, where he worked on the Senator’s Health, Education and Labor Committee on issues affecting working families. Gerry became Senator Kennedy’s Chief of Staff and helped guide Kennedy to re-election in 1994 and 2000. He also served as the Policy Director for the Democratic National Committee, providing counsel to Democratic candidates and parties across the country. In 2003 and 2004, Gerry worked as a senior advisor to the John Edwards for President Campaign. Before his involvement in national politics, Mr. Kavanaugh served as a city planner for the City of Keene, NH, and for the cities of Quincy and Salem in Massachusetts. He also served as the Chief of Staff for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the largest redevelopment authority in the country. He recently founded South Coast Connected, a non-profit organization that develops and runs education programs to help reduce high school drop-out rates in cities along the South Coast of Massachusetts. Mr. Kavanaugh has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Lafayette College and a Master of Arts Degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Artemis Simopoulos, M.D. is the Founder and President of The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, a non-profit educational organization in Washington, D.C.  She is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, with a major in Chemistry, and a graduate of the Boston University School of Medicine.  From 1978 to 1986, Dr. Simopoulos chaired the Nutrition Coordinating Committee at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Since 1984, her research has been on the evolutionary aspects of diet and the omega-6/omega-3 balance. She is the author of The Omega Diet, now in its second edition. Dr. Simopoulos served as Consultant on Nutrition and Health to Ms. Ester Peterson, Special Assistant to The President for consumer Affairs, from 1978 to 1980. From 1978 to 1983 she was co-Chairman and Executive Secretary of the Joint Subcommittee on Human Nutrition Research, Federal Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering, and Technology, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of The President, The White House, and a member of its successor, the Interagency Committee for Human Nutrition Research from 1983-1986. She has edited over 60 books and journal supplements in addition to publishing over 360 scientific papers. In September 2010, Dr. Simopoulos was appointed to the Greek Council on Research and Technology.

Chris Spirou, co-founder of Hellenic American University. He served as the University’s first President, from 2004 through June 2012. Mr. Spirou currently serves as President Emeritus and is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees. He is President and CEO of the Hellenic American Union, a bi-national, international educational and cultural center, located in Athens, Greece. Born in the village of Porti Karditsa, Thessaly, Greece, Chris Spirou immigrated to the United States in 1956 at a very young age. He attended Saint Anselm’s College in Manchester, New Hampshire and received a Master’s Degree from Goddard College in Vermont. In 1970, he was appointed by President Richard Nixon to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Voluntary Action. That same year, he was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives and soon rose to become House Democratic Leader in the New Hampshire House. In 1984, Chris Spirou was the Democratic Nominee for Governor of New Hampshire making him the highest elected American of Greek origin, born in Greece, in either the Democratic or Republican Party. In 1989, he was elected Chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and in 1992, as President of US President Bill Clinton’s Electors.  As President and Chairman of the Hellenic American Union, Mr. Spirou transformed the organization into a major academic force in Greece and a highly regarded, dynamic forum for addressing Greek-American concerns both in Europe and in the United States.  As President of Hellenic American University, Chris Spirou played a vital role in establishing the University as a respected Institution of Higher Education, in New Hampshire, USA and internationally.

Theodore “Ted” Gatsas, Honorary Trustee. Mr. Gatsas is Mayor of the City of Manchester, N.H. He was first elected as Manchester’s 47th Mayor in 2009 and was re-elected in 2011. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Mayor Gatsas, and his brother Michael, co-founded Staffing Network, an employee-leasing company that grew to be one of the largest employers in New England. Staffing Network was eventually acquired by ADP Payroll. Mayor Gatsas was first elected in 2000 as Ward I Alderman in the city of Manchester. He was then elected to the New Hampshire State Senate where he served as President of the Senate and in several leadership positions before his election as mayor of New Hampshire’s largest city, Manchester.

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