Former sociology professor dies at 81

By Keith Hernandez

Toula Kourvetaris remembers her husband as a passionate sociology professor who was proud of his Greek roots.

George Kourvetaris, who clocked 38 years at NIU, died Tuesday at 81. He immigrated from Greece in 1959 to further his career in education, starting at Wright College and ending at Northwestern University in 1969 with a Ph.D. in sociology.

“He was very driven, and because he was from a foreign country, he had to try extra hard,” Toula said. “He had to fight, more or less, … against American-born professors.”

George’s daughter, Sophia, said he wanted his students to excel.

“We always asked him, ‘If you had the chance to do it again, would you become a professor?’ And he said ‘Absolutely,’” Sophia said.

George has received awards for his accomplishments from the City of Chicago, Greek American Community Services, Hellenic Council of Education and the Pan-Arcadian Federation of America. After retirement, he produced educational videos for the Paideia Project, a non-profit he founded in 2003.

George is survived by three children and six grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Greek Orthodox Church, 320 S. Second St. Visitation will run from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.