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Dr. Vassilios J. Theodorides, A Life of Medicine and the Pontian Monument

The Interview Series

Dr. Vassilios J. Theodorides, D.V.M., Ph.D., was born and raised in the small village of Konstantia, Greece in 1931. He lived through the German occupation of his village and the despair of the post-Greek Civil War. As a teenager, he walked eleven kilometers a day, back and forth to attend high school. That determination and discipline to attain a formal education shaped his life.

He went on to college in Greece and earned a D.V.M (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), and eventually, he moved to the United States, where he received a Ph.D. in biochemistry. In 1972, while working for the GlaxoSmithKline, he invented a new drug Albendazole, used against parasites, aids, and cancer, and is still used today around the world.

Dr. Theodorides moved with his work from Boston to Philadelphia where he eventually settled. He raised a family and became an established member of his profession. By the 1990’s his ancestral Pontian roots had been awakened. Dr. Theodorides began to explore his background and joined the Pontian Akritai of Philadelphia where he became President. He explored the history of the Pontian Genocide and decided there had to be more done. The Genocide had to be memorialized. Along with many others of his generation in the community, they raised funds and built the first monument dedicated to those lost in the Pontian Genocide in their historic homeland of Pontos.

Originally published on Cosmos Philly by Eleftherios Kostans. Video by Vasilis Keisoglou.