John G. Rangos Sr. Instrumental in Creating Successful Athens MSIN Program

March 20, 2006

In 2003 the Information Networking Institute (INI) at Carnegie Mellon and Athens Information Technology (AIT) began a partnership to offer the INI's Master of Science in Information Networking degree in Athens, Greece. With the help of Carnegie Mellon trustee John G. Rangos Sr., this program has grown into a model for international education programs around the world.

Mr. Rangos is no stranger to the cause of education. Through the John G. Rangos Sr. Charitable Foundation, Rangos has worked to further the cause of education in this country and around the world. He has been a strong supporter of Carnegie Mellon, an institution he sees as vital to strengthening the economy of the Pittsburgh region. One area where Rangos has been particularly instrumental is the transfer of Carnegie Mellon research to industry. President Cohon recently recognized Rangos' commitment to tech transfer and his efforts to help create new companies to reshape the region, saying, "John has been steadfast in his support of an aggressive plan for innovation and in his support in fostering a creative environment. On behalf of the entire Carnegie Mellon family and this city, I congratulate all that you have done."

For his promotion of Hellenic ideals, culture, and tradition, Mr. Rangos was recently invited to serve as a Grand Marshal of the Greek Independence Parade of 2006 by the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York. He was also invited to serve as the Honorary Co-Chairman of the 52nd National Chian Convention, to be held in the San Francisco Bay Area in October of 2006.

The inspiration for the Athens MSIN program came when Rangos noticed that many Greek Americans hold prominent positions in the field of technology. Rangos saw that Greece had much to offer the United States in technical expertise, and he wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. An educational partnership between Carnegie Mellon and a Greek institution seemed the perfect vehicle for this.

Working with Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon, Dean of the College of Engineering Pradeep K. Khosla, and Provost Mark Kamlet, Rangos established the outlines of the program and laid out its direction. Dean of AIT Christos Halkias says, "John G. Rangos Sr. was the creator of this partnership, affirming his intentions of bridging the talents and resources of one of the world’s oldest democracies with one of America’s most recognized universities teaching and conducting research in IT."

Rangos found a Greek partner in Socrates Kokkalis, founder of INTRACOM, who wanted his legacy to be a commitment to education. Kokkalis founded AIT specifically to house the Athens MSIN program, creating an educational institution with state-of-the art facilities and some of the finest academic talents that Greece had to offer.

"My goal for this partnership was to help Carnegie Mellon become a household name in Europe and Asia, and to create an international program that meets Carnegie Mellon's high standards," says Dean Khosla. "Rangos has helped us create the relationships we needed to achieve these goals. Now, in programs such as CyLab Japan and CyLab Korea, we see this model being used around the world."

One of the main reasons for the success of the Athens program is the close relationship and communication between students and faculty in Greece and Pittsburgh. Core courses are taught in Pittsburgh and transmitted to Athens via advanced videoconferencing technologies that allow Greek students to feel as if they are right there in the Pittsburgh classroom. Pittsburgh faculty members also spend one week per semester in Athens conducting lectures and review sessions.

In the summer of 2003 students from Athens had the opportunity to come to Pittsburgh and experience Carnegie Mellon firsthand. For four weeks they took a class at the Pittsburgh campus with Pittsburgh INI students. Then the whole group, including Pittsburgh students and faculty, traveled to Athens for two weeks to finish the course. This course and exchange were sponsored by John G. Rangos, and the Greek students were designated Rangos Fellows during their visit.

"Rangos has helped us bring the two campuses together to facilitate a true exchange of ideas and experiences." says Tsamitis. "This collaboration would not work without a strong relationship between Pittsburgh and Athens, and the summer exchange helped to cement that bond."

The Athens MSIN program has been a tremendous success, and has so far graduated 48 students from 12 countries. Dean Halkias says, "At AIT, we take pride in the fact that following their graduation, AIT/CMU MSIN graduates have either been successfully employed (80%) in high-level entry positions by top companies in the region or have continued their studies at a Ph.D. level." With this program, Carnegie Mellon has once again shown itself to be at the forefront of educational and technological innovation, putting Pittsburgh in the international spotlight.