• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

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What a pair of Christmas crackers: Dad fulfills pledge to graduate alongside daughter


What started as a joke almost two decades ago between Costas Dimitriadis and his three-year-old daughter Simoni that he would one day graduate alongside her – has finally come true.

Costas, from Greece, completed his third post-graduate degree in 2005, but due to work commitments abroad he was unable to attend his ceremony that year. However, he made a pledge to Simone that he would step on stage to finally collect his certificate if she also ended up studying at the University of Sunderland.

Now, the pair celebrated collecting their degrees together on stage at the Stadium of Light during Sunderland’s Winter Graduation ceremonies. Costas collecting his 17-year-old Master’s in Business Administration, while Simoni, aged 21, collected her BSc Biomedical Sciences degree.

“It has been a wonderful day, especially to graduate alongside Simoni, it just makes it that much more special. What started as a joke all those years ago, happily came true for both of us.

“Sunderland is such a special place and was very well known as a Polytechnic in Greece in the 1980s, many of my friends were studying here and were very happy. It proved to be a really good experience for me and I’ve stayed connected ever since.”

This was also truly a family affair for the Dimitriadis family as they all have deep connections to Sunderland stretching back almost 40 years. This is 59-year-old Costas’s fourth degree, having studied Mechanical Engineering in 1984, graduating in 1987 and then completing two post graduate qualifications and in 1989, before being appointed as a lecturer in Business Analysis at Sunderland Business School, where he taught until 1999.

His wife, Panayiota, is also a Business Administration graduate of the University, as well as his sister, Aspasia, who achieved a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies, so there was no surprise that Simoni would choose Sunderland to study too. Finally, his youngest daughter Eleni is now in the second year of her Biomedical Sciences degree, completing the circle.

Costas says: “Eleni, like Simoni, is very happy and excited to be at Sunderland, she calls it a legacy being the daughter of an Alumnus.”

Simoni, who now plans to continue with a Master’s degree, says: “There was not another option to study anywhere else other than at Sunderland, I really enjoyed the experience and my course, the facilities and the academic staff are so good. The whole environment is welcoming, and everybody is so helpful.

“As kids we were familiar with the University and the City as my dad used to take us with him on many of his travels as part of his work since we were very young. So, Sunderland was, for us, a home away from home.

“So, graduating alongside my dad feels great, as this was the family’s joke for almost two decades. and it is now finally happening and I am very proud about this.”

Costas has continued his educational journey with the University and maintained a strong working relationship over the years. After leaving the business School in 1999, Costas moved back to Greece and started the Athens MBA (Master’s of Business Administration) Centre, and ran the MBA at Sunderland Business School.

In 2001, he was also appointed as the East Mediterranean Manager on behalf of the University, and in 2008 appointed as the Director of Sunderland’s European Office, based in Athens, a position and role that he still proudly possesses and serves.