Stanford Medicine magazine’s founder, Spyros Andreopoulos, a champion of openness in university communications, led Stanford’s medical center news and public affairs office for 30 years. He died at 86 on Nov. 20, 2015, at a nursing home in Menlo Park, close to his residence on the Stanford campus.
“In my experience, Spyros was one of the most competent, most helpful and most completely honest people in the public-information world,” says longtime San Francisco Chronicle science reporter David Perlman. “You could always count on him to give you a straight answer and be totally forthcoming on matters of medical center policy. He was one of the very best in the business.”
Born in Athens, Greece, on Feb. 12, 1929, Andreopoulos learned English in German-occupied Salonica as a teenager and served as a communications liaison in Greece’s air force during the Korean War. After the war, Andreopoulos returned to Greece and worked for the United States Information Agency, helping produce films about the Marshall Plan. This led him to Kansas State University in 1953, where he learned about agriculture for a film series on modern farming methods. Though the project was canceled, he stayed in the United States to study journalism. He went on to work at the Wichita Beacon newspaper, and then as assistant director of information services at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas.
In 1963 he came to Stanford, where he served as spokesman for the medical school and Stanford Hospital, director of the medical center’s news office, adviser to the organizations’ leaders, and editor of Stanford M.D. magazine and its successor, Stanford Medicine. He was also a prolific writer and editor. He won national awards for books he edited on health-care policy, published the article “Gene Cloning by Press Conference” in The New England of Journal of Medicine, penned dozens of newspaper op-eds and even published a novel, Heart Beat.
When Andreopoulos retired, then-dean David Korn, MD, had a commemorative scroll prepared for him. Framed in the house where Andreopoulos lived for decades, it reads: “A respected and loyal friend of Stanford, a man of the highest principles, you served as the conscience of the Medical Center, working with uncommon skill and probity to translate and disseminate scientific research, striving always to discern and communicate the truth. We salute your long and distinguished career.”