Wilkes University alumnus Stelios J. Patsiokas, corporate vice president and chief innovation officer for Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and Christopher N. Breiseth, Wilkes University president emeritus, and will deliver the addresses at the University’s 67th annual commencement. The University’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies are on Saturday, May 17, at the Arnaud C. Marts Sports and Conference Center, 274 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre.
Breiseth will speak at the ceremony for graduate students receiving doctoral and master’s degrees at 10 a.m. Patsiokas will speak at the ceremony for undergraduates receiving bachelor’s degrees at 3 p.m. The University will award honorary degrees to both Breiseth and Patsiokas at the May 17 graduation ceremonies. Breiseth will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa
and Patsiokas will receive the Doctor of Science, honoris causa.
Breiseth served as the fourth president of Wilkes from 1984 until 2001. His credo was “everybody at Wilkes has a part to play in the future … beyond the ivy walls.” Through his leadership, Wilkes continued to be the cultural center of the county and region. Along with Congressman Paul Kanjorski, Breiseth worked to establish the Earth Conservancy, which transformed the mine-scarred lands of the Blue Coal Corporation into parks, homes, and new business ventures.
Breiseth was the organizer of the Council of Presidents, including the leaders of Wilkes, King’s College, Misericordia, Luzerne County Community College and Pennsylvania State University - Wilkes-Barre, and of the Educational Leadership Council, which included all the college presidents and school district superintendents, Catholic diocesan principals and Wyoming Seminary president.
His legacy quickly moved the university toward the 21st century with the 1989 dedication of the Arnaud C. Marts Sports and Conference Center. In 1993, the Munson Fieldhouse was christened, and the following year Wilkes instituted the School of Pharmacy, addressing the health care needs of the Wyoming Valley. “In 1998, under his leadership the campus had a brand-new centerpiece: the Henry Student Center, allowing students to remain at the heart of everything happening at Wilkes.
Patsiokas is currently corporate vice president and chief innovation officer for Sirius XM Satellite Radio, America’s only nationwide digital satellite radio service. The contributions made by Patsiokas have enabled satellite radio to beam 170 channels of audio programming to listeners anywhere in the United States. He holds 35 United States patents in the area of radio frequency communication systems and wireless devices.
Since immigrating to the United States in 1971, Patsiokas has become a driving force within the high-tech world of American and international business. Hired by XM Satellite Radio in 1998, he was initially responsible for the development of the waveform, custom chipsets, receiver hardwire reference platforms and antennas. In 2001 his responsibilities were expanded to include the implementation of the overall end-to-end radio link, repeater network radio design and installation, development of data services and the development and manufacturing of all aftermarket XM radio products, many of which received engineering and innovation awards.
Patsiokas was the recipient of the Washington Immigrant Achievement Award from the American Immigration Law Foundation in March 2002. He was inducted in the Space Technology Hall of Fame the same year. His work also led XM to be named Fortune Magazine’s Product of the Year; one of Time Magazine’s “Inventions of the Year;” Popular Science’s 2001 “Best of What’s New” in the electronics category; and “Best of CES” at the 2001 Consumer
Patsiokas was born in Serres, Greece in 1953. He came to the United States in 1971 and entered Wilkes College under a tuition fellowship. After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1975, he entered Virginia Tech where he obtained a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1977 and a doctorate in electrical engineering in 1979.