It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of Thelma Mavridou, who tragically lost her life in a car accident on September 2, 2021. She was Head of the Public and International Relations Office of the Technical University of Crete (TUC) and beloved by the entire university community.
Thelma Mavridou was an active member of the Technical University of Crete for more than 30 years. In 1988 she was admitted as an undergraduate student and studied in the School of Production Engineering and Management, from which she received her Engineering Diploma. She then went on to pursue postgraduate studies in the United States of America in 1993, and received a Master's Degree in Operations Research from the University of Florida, publishing six scientific papers. She returned to the Technical University of Crete in 1997, where she first worked in the Career Services Office and then as Head Secretary of the School of Production Engineering and Management. She continued as LLP/ERASMUS and Erasmus+ Lifelong Learning Program Manager. From 2014, she served in the TUC Public and International Relations Office, where she had taken over as Head for the past two years. Enthusiasm, creativity, hard work, a smiling face, a positive demeanor, and a love for everyone without exception were some of the characteristics of Thelma's special personality. She handled online media and social networks with ease and was always open to learning new technologies. She was known and loved throughout the TUC community, especially among students, as she was responsible for organizing student groups and volunteer activities. She was the person at the center of a network of activities who drew together students, employees, teachers, schools, and administration in one body, to achieve common goals.
Our Beloved Thelma, your sudden and violent loss during the most productive period of your life is painful for all of us. As of today, the Technical University of Crete is poorer, it is lacking, it is "scarred"! Your warm voice, which welcomed and coordinated the participants of each event, has been silenced. Your disarming smile, which calmed every single person, has frozen. Your enthusiastic posts about any news regarding TUC have stopped. You have now taken all these with you into eternity ...
We stand by your husband, your only daughter and your extended family.
Rest in Peace in Heaven!
On behalf of your TUC family,
the Rectorate of the Technical University of Crete
[below is the first briefing to the TUC community on Sept 2, 2021]
There are no words to comfort ...
There are no words to describe ...
Our beloved Thelma, how can one believe that just a few hours ago we were talking about the TUC website, about the announcement for Mikis Theodorakis, about the beautiful moments of the last graduation ceremony, about the informative event about covid, about the latest news that we had to promote, about future events, about ..., about ...
... and now ... suddenly ... in a single moment ... the end?
You, who always had a smile on your face, was always in a positive mood, was always happy, was always enthusiastic, ... did you really leave?
Were it only a bad dream, a nightmare, ... and not harsh reality ...
Rest in Peace ...
We love you, as you loved us all ...
Funeral Speech by the Rector of the Technical University of Crete for Thelma Mavridou
There are but few people who are recognized within their social and professional sphere by first name only. In the 30 years that I have been at the Technical University of Crete (TUC), I believe there was no other such person, apart from Thelma. She was known by all as Thelma. About two years ago, a group of students came to my office and asked me about conducting a cultural event. After we had discussed the matter, I referred them to Mrs. Mavridou to talk about the organizational details. Then, everyone looked at me in a puzzling manner ... and someone said: "Well, aren't we going to see Thelma?" ...
On the night of that fateful Thursday, when I was receiving numerous phone calls from people who wanted to know what had happened, I also got a phone call from a journalist in Chania who said to me: "Was this person our Thelma?"…
This was Thelma, our Thelma, our own Thelma of the Technical University of Crete, the smile and the soul of the Technical University of Crete. She was the connective tissue that linked together students, teachers, and staff. She was our bridge to the outside world. She promoted all the achievements of TUC and the achievements of the staff of TUC. She was the one who took care of everything related to the sharing of information about and promotion of TUC through all social media. She was the one who so efficiently organized all of the convocation ceremonies where students were awarded their engineering diplomas. She was the one who organized and coordinated the Science and Technology Days, all the volunteer activities at TUC, and all the cultural activities of the student cultural groups. She was the one who created the electronic magazine of TUC and the one who named it “Coordinates”.
It was a great privilege to work with Thelma on a daily basis. Her smile was joyfully infectious, as was her childlike enthusiasm, her vision, her point of view, and her ideas on where we should go as an Institution in moving forward. I remember Thursday morning; she came to my office and we discussed what topics should be included in the next issue of our magazine, “Coordinates”. She also told me that in our next issue she wanted to showcase all the women professors of TUC and that she would like to gather them all on the steps in the atrium of the Science Building for a photograph.
Every time we talked, Thelma and I, about our various plans, we would conclude with a sly smile and a quiet comment that we should not say anything to the Vice Rector, Michalis Lagoudakis because, as a stickler for detail, he would check every particular, and consequently, delay everything. And when she left my office, I would connect onto Zoom, and within three minutes, the red dots of Thelma and Michalis were on and they would be talking about what we had just been discussing; and this was because Thelma wanted everything to be perfect; she wanted to sit down with Michalis and talk so that everything be perfect, whatever she had in mind and organized.
Of all the events she organized, there was one that was not very successful. This occurred just after we had taken over the Rector's Office at the Technical University of Crete. It was March 2018. So, she came to my office and said: “I have an idea for March 21st, which is World Poetry Day. We will create a link in the forum, in the electronic forum of TUC, where we discuss and present what is happening at TUC. And in this link, on this day that we celebrate poetry, everyone, every member of the TUC community, will be able to upload a poem that he or she wrote, or read and liked”. So, this excellent idea was implemented by Thelma. She established the link, and on March 21, 2018, out of the 4,000-4,500 active members of the TUC community, only about 6 responded! The next morning, March 22nd, she came to my office, stood by the door, that big smile broke out and she said: “It does not matter, Mr. Rector, we will insist on poetry all the same!".
Three and a half years later, and insisting on poetry, on behalf of TUC, I would like to dedicate a poem to our beloved Thelma. The poem was written by an American, Mary Elizabeth Frye and is entitled “I am not there”.
Do not stand by my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints in snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle, autumn rain.
As you awake with morning’s hush,
I am the swift, up-flinging rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight,
I am the day transcending night.
Do not stand by my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.
For her partner Sotiris, also a graduate of the Technical University of Crete, her beloved daughter Phoebe, her sister, her parents, relatives, friends, associates, there are no words of consolation. There is only the promise that we will keep her in our hearts forever.
Thelma, we love you very much!
Rest in peace …
Delivered in Chania, on Sunday, September 5, 2021, during the funeral service of Thelma Mavridou at the Church of Saint Luke by the Rector of TUC, Prof. Evan Diamadopoulos.