Gregory Dimitriadis was never too busy to help his students, according to Kushal Bhardwaj.
“In college, some people can get so wrapped up in their own work that they neglect to teach, or help others,” said Bhardwaj, a UB athletics academic adviser and African American studies professor. “Greg was the opposite.”
Dimitriadis’ unexpected death on Dec. 29, 2014 was a tragedy to UB faculty. His cause of death has not been released.
Dimitriadis was a professor and associate dean for academic affairs in UB’s graduate school of education. His areas of research included urban education, popular culture and educational policy.
Dimitriadis graduated from Fordham Prep in Bronx, New York. He received his B.A. in economics and English from Boston College, his M.A. in English and American studies at UB and his Ph.D. in speech communication at the University of Illinois.
Dimitriadis had a special connection with Bhardwaj.
“[Dimitriadis] was arguably the finest hip-hop scholar UB has ever produced and that is outside the breadth of his research and teaching interest,” Bhardwaj said.
Dimitriadis published several books and articles, many of which were about youth culture and the sociology of education.
In 2012, he received the American Educational Research Association Outstanding Book Award for his book Critical Dispositions: Evidence and Expertise in Education. In his book he emphasized the need for ethnocentric change in educational systems around the globe.
Suzanne Miller, a professor and department chair of learning and instruction, met Dimitriadis when he was a candidate for an assistant professor position and said he was clearly the best candidate.
“We were especially impressed with his research on African American males and the hip-hop culture,” Miller said.
Bhardwaj said Dimitriadis’ teaching policy can be summed up in one word: generosity.
As his mentor, Dimitriadis taught Bhardwaj how to be unselfish, giving, honest and caring for students and colleagues alike.
Dimitriadis proved to be a leader when he was an associate dean. He was an affiliated faculty member in the Gender Institute and worked in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Miller recalls Dimitriadis coming in and out of her office until he came to an understanding of the new interdisciplinary program in order to become the an associate dean.
She said his inquisitive attitude is what made him a great qualitative researcher.
“Whenever you spoke to Greg, you always had the feeling that he was listening to everything you had to say,” Miller said.
Dimitriadis dared people to ask questions. He taught his students how to develop their research in profound and meaningful ways, Bhardwaj said.
Dimitriadis preached the importance of humility, emphasizing that the more a person reads, the more they realize what they don’t know, Bhardwaj said.
Dimitriadis served on doctoral committees at universities across the country as well as at Cambridge University and the University of Alberta, according to the UB graduate school of education website.
Miller said Dimitriadis was an exceptional scholar and inspired students to use their mind as a gateway to exploring diversity on and off campus.
“He was an eternal optimist and didn’t dwell on the negatives or the past,” Miller said.
Dimitriadis was always on a pursuit for change and Bhardwaj said he will carry out his legacy by being “an effective, caring, generous scholar and educator.”
A memorial service will be held for Dimitriadis on March 6 in 250 Baird Hall at 3 p.m. It is open to all faculty and students.
“UB, and college in general, needs more Greg Dimitriadis,” Bhardwaj said.