Michael Amiridis named Great Immigrant by Carnegie Corporation of New York
By Jeff Stensland, email@example.com, 803-777-3686
Michael Amiridis, who becomes 30th president of the University of South Carolina on July 1, has been named to the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s annual list of Great Immigrants. This year’s list, announced today, honors 34 naturalized citizens whose contributions and actions have enriched and strengthened our society and our democracy.
Each Fourth of July since 2006, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a philanthropic foundation established by Scottish immigrant Andrew Carnegie, has invited Americans to celebrate the important role of naturalized citizens in American life.
Amiridis, 59, was born in Kavala, a coastal town in northern Greece, and earned his undergraduate degree from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki in that country. He came to the United States for graduate studies, earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991 and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
“Coming to this country as a young man, to advance my education, introduced me to unique opportunities,” Amiridis said. “I have been privileged to raise a family and to enjoy a fulfilling career in higher education here. To be recognized as a ‘Great Immigrant’ by the Carnegie Corporation of New York is a great honor that reflects my pride in both my Greek heritage and my American citizenship.”
Amiridis comes to the University of South Carolina from the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he has been chancellor since 2015. Prior to leading UIC, Amiridis spent more than two decades at South Carolina as a faculty member and administrator, serving from 2009 to 2015 as the university’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.
As a researcher, Amiridis earned the National Science Foundation’s award for early-career scientists and engineers in 1999 and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012 and a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2015.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York’s full list of 2022 Class of Great Immigrants comprises naturalized citizens from 32 countries with a wide range of backgrounds. In addition to Amiridis, the list includes two Nobel laureates, a COVID-19 vaccine developer, an expert on nuclear threat reduction, a leading researcher on disabilities, the winningest coach in the history of U.S. women’s soccer, a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, and celebrities including tennis star Steffi Graf, actress and director Julie Delpy, and rock ’n’ roll legend Neil Young. The full list can be found on the Carnegie Corporation website.
“Our Great Immigrants Great Americans event each year is a reminder of the proven economic and societal benefits of encouraging immigrants to seek citizenship and become actively involved in our democracy,” said Geri Mannion, managing director of the Corporation’s Strengthening U.S. Democracy program and a naturalized citizen of Irish descent.
To be recognized as a ‘Great Immigrant’ by the Carnegie Corporation of New York is a great honor that reflects my pride in both my Greek heritage and my American citizenship.
Michael Amiridis, 30th president of the University of South Carolina
The annual recognition of outstanding immigrants is a tribute to the legacy of Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish immigrant who, like these honorees, found success as an American and gave back to his adopted country. Carnegie founded more than 20 philanthropic organizations, including Carnegie Corporation of New York, a grantmaking foundation established in 1911 to advance the causes of democracy, education, and international peace.
Since 2006, the Corporation has named nearly 700 Great Immigrants, forming one of the largest online databases of its type. The 2022 honorees mark the 17th class, who will be recognized with a full-page public service announcement in the New York Times on the Fourth of July, as well as through tributes on social media with the hashtag #GreatImmigrants.
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