John W Vlandis
John W. Vlandis passed away peacefully at age 89 at his residence in Westminster Oaks, Tallahassee, FL, following a prolonged and courageous fight with Alzheimer’s disease.
John was born in Bridgeport, CT in 1930 to Greek immigrants, William and Rose Vlandis. Putting a value on higher education, John received his under-graduated Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Connecticut. Following his graduation, John went on to serve as First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army as a Training Office for new recruits, and later as an Instructor in a Non-commissioned Officers Academy. Subsequently he was transferred to Germany to serve as a Rifle Platoon Leader, and later as Executive Officer of the Regional Leadership School.
Following his military service, John went on to complete his M.A. at the University of Iowa. Before completing his Ph.D., also at the University of Iowa, John married his beautiful wife of 61 years, Katherine “Tula” Vlandis (nee Cheston). They raised two daughters in Storrs, CT.
After a stint as an instructor at Temple University in Philadelphia teaching Public Speaking, coaching the debate team, and serving as a dorm Head Resident, John went on to be a tenured Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences at UConn. John was promoted to Director of Admissions and Orientation Services at the institution, where he served for 24 years. Completely immersed in the college admissions field, John held numerous offices in professional organizations, both at the state, regional and national levels. He attained national recognition while serving as President of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors. John is also published, with papers and research in both communications and admissions. John was awarded Emeritus status by the Board of Trustees of the University of CT.
Heavily invested in his Greek heritage, John immersed himself in serving his church. He served as President of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Norwich, CT, and Chairman of the Connecticut Council of Greek Orthodox Churches. His beautiful tenor voice could be heard blending with the choirs at his Norwich church, St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Hartford, CT, and the Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church in Tallahassee, FL…where he also served on the Parish Council. One of his greatest efforts was to advance the Hellenic Studies program at UConn, which included course development celebrating modern Greek culture and literature, as well as building a Hellenic Complex including a chapel, study center and amphitheater. As a result of his efforts, John was proclaimed an honorary citizen of Greece. He was further recognized for his support of the church and was presented with the Outstanding Hellene Award for Education, the AHEPA Academy of Achievement Award for Education, and Archangel Michael Honors Medal.
With boundless energy, John also engaged in extra-curricular activities, often in leadership roles. By example, he served as President of the Men’s Faculty Club and the Faculty Alumni Center at UConn. In service to the schools his daughters attended, he was President of the Annie E. Vinton Parent-Teacher Assoc. and Co-President of Edwin O. Smith High School Parents Association, both in Mansfield, CT. He served three 2-year terms as a Faculty Advisor to the UConn Student Union Board of Governors, and two years in a row he was appointed by Governor John Dempsey to serve as State Chairman for United Nations Day in CT.
John also served as Vice President at Martel and Associates, a high impact communications consulting firm. He served as a Communications consultant for management and labor groups, as well as an Educational consultant for colleges and universities. He was a panelist on a syndicated educational radio show and even co-hosted an educational television program. John chaired fund-raisers for the Girls Scouts of America and the American Red Cross. And in his backyard, he loved to tend his sizeable vegetable garden.
In retirement, John didn’t slow down. With his wife, they moved from Connecticut to Tallahassee, FL, enjoying family and friends, and traveling extensively. When not visiting faraway places like Alaska, Egypt, Tahiti, Greece and all over Europe, John volunteered with AARP as Florida’s Chief Trainer for their 55 Alive Driving program. He was also a Volunteer Arbiter for the Better Business Bureau. And for those lucky enough to hear him play, John was an accomplished violist.
John was the cherished father of Rosanne Leake (St. Louis, MO) and Eleni King (Shell Point, FL), and loving Pappou to Harrison, Colbi, Hunter, Starr, Morgan and Keegan.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Hellenic Society Paideia (www.paideiausa.org) or to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org).
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
John W Vlandis
November 13, 2019
This obituary failed to mention John and Tula's ownership of the Hallock's Ice Cream business! I know it was not a great investment but it was how I came to know them and I have a great memory of taking my young children to the ice cream "factory" at the invitation of John and Tula. More to the point, I enjoyed knowing John over their later years in Storrs and representing them in some of their matters. They set a wonderful example for their children and while your hearts are heavy you all have much to be grateful for. I am.
November 12, 2019
John Santa November 12 , 2019
John Vlandis was one of the finest people I have ever known. We first met when I took a Speech class with him at UConn. The subject was Group Discussion . John team taught it and it is one of the best courses I have ever taken in a long and varied academic career . And it was that way because of John's wonderful , gentle and yet strong academic approach to enlightening his students. We next interacted when he was faculty advisor to the UConn Student Union Board of Governors. I took on leadership of a campus event (Winter Weekend) which was huge in scope and demanded immense amounts of my time ( I almost flunked out) . It was , as those jobs are, a thankless task . However , when done with it , one person , and only one person, took the time to write me a personal note of thanks and appreciation - of course, that was John. He told me that all of the effort and toil (and accomplishment!) would mean a lot in my future - and, sure enough , it really did! His inspirational words echoed all throughout my life. Finally , when John was dean of Admissions at UConn, I came to him asking a special favor for a particularly beloved and troubled nephew who needed a shot at UConn. There John was again - like a rock ! Helping me and my nephew in a most kind and supportive way. I am sorry we lost touch over the years. I extend most heartfelt condolences to John's family who are certain to miss him dearly. But please accept my story as merely exemplary and emblematic of the many people whom John had so generously aided and supported throughout his life. He is, without doubt, a personal hero to me..
Mary Ann Lally
November 11, 2019
My deepest sympathy to Tula and family. I remember John from my early years at UConn working for Joan Geetter. I learned so much about him from this impressive obituary. He certainly left his marvelous spirit in this world, by touching so many others. May his memory continue to bless us all.
November 10, 2019
Dear Tula, Rosanne, and Eleni,
I have never done one of these before, but needed to immediately reach out. Please forgive the cliches, but I am so emotionally affected at this moment, but am so proud that I knew John ( not sure if it is Dr. John or Uncle John !!).
There has been no greater Hellene in the State of Connecticut-I at times would find myself telling others of his great accomplishments, in so many arenas, and thus am relieved that the obituary did a decent job of illuminating his impact on so many fields, education, public speaking, and of course the Greek-American community. I have had the honor of serving as a speaker or MC at a number of Paidea events at Uconn the last few years, most recently weeks ago at a welcome event for the Uconn President Tom Katsouleas at Paidea, and I always ask everyone to always remember and revere the integral role of John in the establishment of the Hellenic Studies Center and the receipt of the land grant from Uconn siting the first Greek Orthodox Chapel on a college campus. I actually recall receiving a call from John on my first year as an attorney asking if I could assist in a zoning issue, and so pleased that I was able to do so.
On a personal level, over these four and a half decades, I often recall with such fondness Uncle John showing my parents and this then high school senior around the Storrs campus (needless to say, my only visit to any campus), my visits to his office (never with an appointment and never without being ushered into his office) and seeing his name on the scoreboard at Rentschler Field as part of the Biggest Uconn Family celebration during half time of a Uconn football game a few years ago.
A consummate gentleman, as classy a man as there could be, adoring of his wife and daughters, so proud of his Greek heritage, his memory will be eternal.
Tula, Roseanne and Eleni, he was a role model and mentor to so many, most certainly this Greek boy who grew to consider him a dear friend.
November 10, 2019
Dear Tula and family,
Please accept my most sincere sympathy on the passing of your husband and father. I was saddened to learn of his passing.
I first met John (Doctor Vlandis) when enrolled in his Public Speaking class (Speech 101) in September, 1962. While "only an elective" course, I attribute that experience among the most significant contributions to my time at Storrs and ability to communicate effectly. Several years later, he chuckled as he modestly informed me, it was not him but my Greek heritage that contained the genesus of my ability to speak in the public forum.
During my undergraduate years, he generously made himself accessible as an unofficial mentor and several years later entertained me in the faculty dining room where we discussed admissions eligibility of a high school student "I was mentoring".
To further introduce myself, my parents (Theodore and Mary Poulos of New London) became acquainted with you and John and often spoke fondly of you and John.
John was an ARCHON of his era and it was both a privilege and a pleasure to count him as a friend.
Chris T. Poulos, UCONN 1966, CLAS
November 10, 2019
I will always remember John because he gave me special help in entering the UConn School of Education graduate school. without a teaching certificate. I went on to earn a Master's degree and had a successful career. Without John's help I don't believe this would've happened.
November 9, 2019
I met John Vlandis when he qas Director of Admissions at UCONN
in December of 1965. I was having an interview with him as I had applied as a transfer student from Seton Hall University. He put me at ease when he started the interview : After reviewing your file I would love to extend you my welcome to you to join us here at the University of Connecticut next semester. I told him this was the best Christmas present I could receive. He had a great smile on his face when I told him "I accept"
I loved attending UCONN and graduated in 1968.
Class of 1968
November 9, 2019
John was truly a special person! I was so fortunate to have him as a mentor and friend at the University of Connecticut. He had wonderful academic credentials and was extremely successful professionally, receiving national recognition in his field. Beyond his busy professional life, John's volunteer activities were just remarkable. He gave endless time and energy, using his excellent leadership skills to benefit many organizations. John adored his wife and daughters, and he always made time for his friends. He had such a wonderful way of listening and giving advice and support.
I will always be so grateful that I had the opportunity to know John. My thoughts are with Tula and their family.