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Friday, Dec 19, 2014

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George Kontogiannis

Alumnus George Kontogiannis with Julie Zdanowicz, director of development for the College of Fine Arts

Photo courtesy of: Julie Zdanowicz

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Alumnus gives back, establishes three scholarships


Columbus architect George Kontogiannis contributed $45,000 to The Ohio University Foundation to establish three scholarship endowments in three different Ohio University colleges. Kontogiannis earned his bachelor’s of art degree in architecture from the University in 1963.

With his gift, Kontogiannis established: The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education Scholarship in Honor of Margaret Koren; The William A. Goolie Memorial Scholarship in the College of Fine Arts; and the George J. Kontogiannis Osteopathic Medicine Scholarship.

“I’ve been very fortunate to end up well-off financially,” said Kontogiannis. “We all say it, and some of us practice it: ‘give something back.’ So, I started giving back years ago. I feel that it’s money well spent and a good way to help young people to get an education.”

Kontogiannis is the owner of George J. Kontogiannis & Associates, an architectural firm he established in 1966 – just three years after graduating from Ohio University. The firm is recognized for large-scale medium to high-end residential, commercial, religious, congregate care, nursing home and other medical facility architecture. The firm’s structures can be found throughout the United States, including in: Ohio, Ariz., Fla., Ind., Ga., Ky., Md., Mass., Mich., N.C., Penn., Tenn., and W. Va.

“We are so grateful for George’s support of the University,” said Julie Zdanowicz, director of development for the College of Fine Arts. “Scholarships are very important to our mission as a public university and George’s continued support has created a unique legacy. His music scholarship in the string area has already impacted students’ lives.”

The scholarship in the Patton College honors Kontogiannis’s sister, Margaret “Margie” Koren, who earned her bachelor’s of science degree in education from Ohio University’s Eastern Campus in 1968. Koren is a retired second grade teacher who taught in the Buckeye Local School District.

“Back then, the state had a dire need for teachers,” said Kontogiannis. “Margie taught with a temporary teaching certificate while she was finishing college. She really enjoyed teaching.”

The scholarship in the College of Fine Arts is a memorial to Kontogiannis’s late brother-in-law, Koren’s late husband, William A. Goolie, who took classes at Ohio University’s Eastern Campus as well as the Athens Campus. Goolie worked for Kontogiannis in apartment management.

The third scholarship will support students in the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM). Kontogiannis chose to establish a scholarship in medicine “because of the OU-HCOM presence in Columbus,” he said. “It seemed like a good fit because of my involvement in Columbus and because I’ve always been interested in medicine. I’ve made it a point to be as educated [about health care] as possible.”

Kontogiannis is no newcomer to helping students achieve their higher education goals. In 2006 he recognized a colleague by establishing the Jeanne Shull Scholarship to support a student in Ohio University’s School of Music.

In addition, over the years he has supported numerous students from his primary education school district – Buckeye Local. “In honor of my 50th high school reunion we did five scholarships for students from the school district,” said Kontogiannis. “Now that she’s retired, Margie reviews the applications and helps determine which students will receive the scholarships.”

“Today, we all know that it’s getting more and more expensive to go to school. You read how students – especially medical students – end up with so much debt,” said Kontogiannis. “I just feel that it’s money well spent.”

These scholarship gifts are part of Ohio University's The Promise Lives Campaign, which seeks to raise $450 million by June 30, 2015, and already has secured more than $414 million toward its goal in support of students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities.

Learn more by visiting The Promise Lives Campaign website:
www.ohio.edu/campaign