Hundreds of friends, elected officials, academicians and Drexel trustees, students, faculty and staff packed St. Luke’s Greek Orthodox Church in Broomall, Pa. on Tuesday, April 14, 2009, for the funeral service of Drexel University President Constantine Papadakis. Hundreds more viewed a live Webcast of the service at five locations on Drexel’s campuses and on their personal computers.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America and His Eminence Metropolitan of New Jersey Evangelos led the service, while priests from local Greek orthodox churches participated. Among the long list of dignitaries who joined Papadakis’s wife Eliana and daughter Maria in a final farewell to the Drexel president were Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey and Ted Erickson, Attorney General Tom Corbett, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. The Honorable Aghi Balta Consul General, Consulate General of Greece in New York represented Greece. Dr. John Nathenas, vice president of the World Council of Cretans and Emanuel Velivassakis, president of the PanCretans represented the island of Crete from where Papadakis’s family hailed.
“Taki will be missed,” said Drexel board of trustees chairman Richard Greenawalt. “But if ever a man built a legacy great enough to soften the blow of losing him, it was Taki.”
Dr. Papadakis, who was in remission from cancer, died unexpectedly from pulmonary complications on April 5. In his nearly 14-year tenure, Dr. Papadakis transformed Drexel into a top-ranked comprehensive national research university.
“Although I’m an only child, my father loved telling people that he had 20,000 other children—by that he meant his Drexel students,” said Maria Papadakis. “And he told people he had hundreds of thousands of extended family members across the world, and he didn’t mean our big Greek family, he meant Drexel alumni.”
Manuel Stamatakis, chairman of the board of Drexel’s College of Medicine and a longtime friend, said, “Taki was bigger than life itself. He was a true renaissance man, and a visionary who could see opportunities where others only saw risk. He had the courage to undertake transformational initiatives. And he had the ability, passion and conviction to successfully execute them.”
To view the full eulogies, visit www.drexel.edu/papadakis/memorial
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