Jade Gianakopoulos will travel the world to serve. She proved that last summer during the Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following a four-year selection process, Gianakopoulos and her husband, Anastasios, volunteered their time scheduling practices, relaying information and arranging transportation for all the soccer teams competing in the 2004 games.
At the same time, the couple enjoyed unprecedented access to the athletes by working in Olympic Village with them, riding the bus with the U.S. Women’s Gold Medal Team to Karaiskaki Stadium and assisting on the sidelines.
“The whole experience was so inspiring and really rewarding,” said Gianakopoulos, a competitive skier and outdoor sports enthusiast. “I would encourage others to do this.”
That desire to serve also displays itself in the psychology major’s hometown of Springfield. Since her graduation from Wittenberg, Gianakopoulos has tried to give back to the university and her community.
“I received many grants to attend Wittenberg, and I want to pay the university back in some way, which is why I always make time for Wittenberg. I want others to have the same opportunities I had.”
Toward that end, Gianakopoulos has worked extensively with the Wittenberg Guild, including serving on the executive board and chairing the Martha Rodgers Benefactors’ Fund, where she helped to raise close to $50,000 for scholarships for local students to attend Wittenberg during her tenure.
She also chaired this year’s annual Guild-sponsored Style Show, which raised more than $25,000 for the same purpose.
Such commitment to her alma mater recently earned Gianakopolous Wittenberg’s G.O.L.D. Young Alumna Award. Presented during the university’s Homecoming/Reunion Weekend, Oct. 22-24, the award recognizes graduates of the last decade who have shared their time and talent in service to Wittenberg.
“Wittenberg is a great school and an amazing place that teaches you that you can achieve anything. You can go anywhere from Wittenberg, and I’m proud to say I’m a graduate.”