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Prestigious IU alumni award bestowed to Valparaiso teacher

Despina Amanatidis Liaskos honored with IUAA President’s Award in recognition of her service to students, alumni and friends of IU Northwest

Wednesday Jun 14, 2017


The Indiana University Alumni Association (IUAA) awarded four individuals with the prestigious President’s Award at a ceremony in Bloomington on June 9.

Among those honored was IU Northwest Alumna Despina Amanatidis Liaskos, of Valparaiso, who earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2008 and currently teaches business and economics at Valparaiso High School.

The President’s Award honors individuals who help provide opportunities for their fellow alumni and friends to stay connected with Indiana University. Given annually, the award remains the IUAA’s premier alumni honor.

Liaskos serves on the IU Northwest Chancellor’s Advisory and Philanthropy committees where she has been a key leader in realizing a successful board fundraising campaign. She’s been an IU Northwest Alumni Association board member for a number of years and is currently serving her second term as president. She has played a pivotal role in promoting the scholarship that the IU Northwest Alumni Association proudly provides to a student each year.

“When family and friends ask me why I give so much to IU Northwest, I tell them it’s just a part of me. It’s something I enjoy,” she said. “. I like to give back because I enjoy seeing the improvements on campus and the impact we can make on student’s lives.”

Liaskos says that her contributions to IU Northwest stem largely from her gratitude for the opportunities that she’s been afforded. She feels these opportunities must be made available to others.

The Highland native says it’s her turn to work toward ensuring others have the same caliber of education and the same great experience she had while at IU Northwest. She freely gives her time to mentor and coach students whenever possible and encourages fellow alumni to get involved. She even sings at Commencement, sharing her immense talent and tapping into her musical education.

IU Northwest Director of Alumni Relations Paulette LaFata-Johnson accompanied Liaskos to the ceremony.

“Despina’s leadership and collaborative spirit has helped keep our alumni connected and engaged doing good work for IU Northwest alumni, students and community,” LaFata-Johnson said. “She is truly committed.”

In addition to her MBA from IU Northwest, Liaskos holds a bachelor’s degree in music in vocal performance from Ball State University, a master’s degree in music in vocal performance from the University of Akron, and a master’s of education from Indiana State University. She also completed graduate coursework in arts administration at University of Akron.

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