2010 International Professional of the Year: Dr. Michael D. Amiridis
Dr. Amiridis received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991, and joined the University of South Carolina as an Assistant Professor in 1994 after working for three years for W.R. Grace & Company. He was promoted through the academic ranks, became Department Chair in 2002, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing in 2006 and Provost in August 2009. Under Amiridis’ leadership the College of Engineering and Computing at USC grew substantially in terms of students, faculty, competitive research grants and doctoral degrees granted. The College also created aggressive outreach and retention programs, as well as bridging programs with several other institutions in the USC and the South Carolina Technical College systems. Prior to his deanship, Dr. Amiridis contributed significantly– both as a faculty member and a Department chair – to the growth of the Department of Chemical Engineering, which has been ranked by NSF in the top 20 chemical engineering departments in the
nation in terms of research expenditures for the last decade.
2010 Community Ambassador of the Year: John A. Saavedra
Raised in a small, rural town in the mountains of Virginia, John attended public
schools there and later won a four-year scholarship to King College in Bristol TN,
where he completed two majors — Math and Psychology — in 1973. His first job
was with the management training program of K-Mart, which transferred him to
South Florida, where he lived for 13 years. During that time John took management
and computer classes and completed an M.A. in counseling from the University of
South Florida in Tampa. In 1978 he began work as a letter carrier with the U.S.
Postal Service in Bradenton, FL and moved quickly through various accounting and customer
service supervisory positions until he was promoted and transferred to Columbia in 1986.
Upon retirement in April 2008, John joined a team that flew to Beijing China to teach English (ESL)
for two months during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Last summer he went with the same organization
to Vinh, Vietnam, not far from Hanoi and this summer he plans to return to Beijing to teach during
August, and then fly to Yemen in October, again to teach English. John has enjoyed working with
international students at HIS and IFM since his retirement, utilized by both organizations in a variety
2010 International Volunteer of the Year: Jung-Sook Ezelle
Born in Korea in 1954, Ms. Jung moved to the USA in 1978. She is employed by
Lexington Women’s Care and for many years has devoted much of her free time in
service to people of all ages… children & the elderly included.