Patricia Hajifotiou '84
Hiram college Alumni Spotlight
By Danni McDonald '19
Patricia Hajifotiou ’84 has a true sense of adventure and love of travel which developed during her days at Hiram College.
Growing up in nearby Newbury, Ohio, Patricia was familiar with Hiram College from an early age. As a child, she would pick blueberries to take to the Frohring family who lived nearby and were supporters of her high school as well as Hiram College. After high school, Patricia spent a year at a state university, but was disappointed in the institution’s large class sizes. She transferred to Hiram College her sophomore year and immediately took to the close-knit community and passionate professors. She knew she had made the best choice. Hiram was a perfect fit.
At Hiram, Patricia was a psychology and physical education double major. Some of her favorite professors included Professor Mary Louise Vincent, Gwen Fischer and Andrew Konick who were all passionate about sharing their knowledge and working with students. Outside of the classroom, Patricia was involved with student activities including basketball, rugby, track, cross country, the Alpha Society social club and worked as a Resident Assistant on 2nd floor Dean for two years.
It was during her time at Hiram that she caught the “travel bug” after visiting London in her interim period. It was her first time overseas and opened the doors of possibility and adventure for her, eventually leading to a career in the travel field and the formation of her tour company, Olive Odysseys, with her husband, Manolis. The small-group tour company features trips throughout Europe with intimate groups of no more than 16 people at a time.
One of the first trips they hosted was with Hiram alumni and Patricia has remained engaged and connected with Hiram College since then including serving as the chairperson for the Class of 1984’s 35th reunion this year. “It has been a positive experience, reconnecting with my classmates, catching up and seeing where life has brought them,” she says.
Patricia and Manolis currently reside on Evia Island in Greece, living off the grid with solar and wind power. Since they run their tours mostly in the spring and the fall, they have time for summer swimming at nearby beaches. In the winter, they stay in Athens and enjoy theatre, cinemas and more. Every day, Patricia continues to seek out new challenges, including running her first marathon at 50 years old.
“I am in a foreign country speaking Greek on a daily basis. You need an open brain and ability to take all the different things thrown at you. Hiram really prepared me for that. I am a lifelong learner without a doubt. Every day, I’m a seeking person. Every day, I am really learning something new.”
Humans of Hiram spotlights a different faculty, staff, student, alumni, or friend each month.