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Profiles in Giving

A TUSM scholarship fund honors a mother’s spirit

John Eliopoulos, A89P, A91P, is used to commotion, having grown up in a house jam-packed with his siblings—all 12 of them. When he entered the bustling corridors of New England Medical Center (now Tufts Medical Center) more than 50 years ago, he was more than ready to begin his surgery residency. The busy environment almost felt like home.

Flourishing through his residency and a 40-year career in general and vascular surgery, Eliopoulos had plenty of role models. His maternal grandfather had been a well-known primary care physician back in Greece, and his uncle was a cardiologist in New York City. But he cites his mother, Adiamandia, as his true inspiration. At 16 she immigrated to the U.S. from Greece, married shortly after, and planted roots in Lowell, Mass., where she raised her 13 children.

After retiring from medicine, Eliopoulos wanted a way both to honor his devoted mother and to make medical education possible for others. His son, Steven Eliopoulos, A89, had an idea: Make a gift to Tufts University School of Medicine in her name. Steven and his brother, Michael Eliopoulos, A91, had earned bachelor’s degrees on the Hill, but neither they nor their father—nor anyone else in their family—had ever studied at the School of Medicine. (John Eliopoulos holds his degree from the Yale School of Medicine.) It was an unusual idea, for sure.

“My wife and I had just established a fund for undergraduate physics research at Tufts,” says Steven. “My dad caught wind of this and started talking about establishing a fund, too. He thought about giving to Yale, but some of his memorable and formative years as a physician were spent during his training at New England Medical Center.”

When Steven told his parents about the current Financial Aid Initiative, which matches qualifying gifts to unrestricted endowed scholarships dollar for dollar, John and his wife, Betty Eliopoulos, were sold. Together with Steven, Michael, and their third son, Peter Eliopoulos, they endowed the Adiamandia L. Eliopoulos Scholarship Fund at Tufts University School of Medicine.

“I know the cost of medical training is extremely expensive now,” John Eliopoulos says. Therefore, he and his family designated the scholarship for fourth-year students, to help defer some of their costs as they prepare for residency.

It will be a fitting tribute to Eliopoulos’s mother, whose name comes from the Greek word for “diamond.” According to him, that’s no coincidence.

“She was a true gem,” he says.