Adamantios K. “Diamond” Gorgolis came to America from Greece in 1962 to enroll in the Mechanical Engineering Department of then Louisiana Polytechnic Institute and left with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1967 and his MS in Mechanical Engineering in 1968.
It wasn’t easy. He faced financial hardships and the cultural and language battles half a world away from his home.
But with help, he did it, and with those lessons he built a 30-year career as an engineer before early retirement in 2002. Now, he hopes to make the road a bit smoother for students by creating the Adamantios “Diamond” Gorgolis Graduate Research Fellowship endowment through his IRA, the entirety of which will eventually go to Tech students.
“In short,” Gorgolis said, “the reason for gifting my IRA to the Tech Foundation is because I feel that I owe everything that I have achieved so far in my life to the mentoring and pushing of the Louisiana Tech faculty to complete my studies and especially the moral support of both Dr. Jack Thigpen and Dr. Randall Barron to bring my studies to a fruitful completion, that is, achieve my American Dream.”
Summer work and an assistantship from the Department for the final two years of his studies solved the financial burden, and “the acceptance by my fellow classmates and the support from my professors to rely upon myself and actualize my potential made the rest of the battles winnable,” he said.
“At the end, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in May 1967, a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in August 1968, and completed the postgraduate work but never completed the dissertation for my PhD in the early ’70s attending night school.”
Now students will have a better shot at completing advanced degrees because of Gorgolis’ investment.
“We’re incredibly thankful to Mr. Gorgolis,” said College of Engineering and Science Dean Dr. Hisham Hegab. “His generosity will help us recruit and support top-notch graduate students for research in areas across the College.”
“Increasing private support for graduate students is critical to Louisiana Tech’s goals of providing unparalleled education and tackling grand research challenges,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Terry McConathy. “Donor-funded graduate awards, which cover tuition and provide living stipends, help Tech compete nationwide for top masters and PhD students who make immeasurable contributions to our teaching research and corporate partnerships. One notable bonus of recruiting graduate students from universities nationwide is that they bring new ideas, innovations, and technology skills that strengthen our endeavors.”
Investments such as Gorgolis’ will help Tech recruit top graduate students with a focus on research. In particular, Tech will continue to seek graduate students with interests in research that match the University’s goal of tackling grand challenges in the areas of cyber security, health and wellness, and energy. Graduate research assistants must fulfill employment terms typically through hours working in the research labs; graduate research fellowships are structured to provide graduate students with more flexibility in the way they contribute to research endeavors. “Bottom line: Tech cannot become a great Tier One Research University without outstanding graduate students,” McConathy said, “and we cannot attract outstanding graduate students without graduate assistantships and fellowships.”