15 January 2016
It was with great shock and devastation that we were informed of our student Spyridon (Spyros) Raftopoulos losing his life at a crossroads in Athens in mid-December, shortly after his MPA graduation.
Spyros joined Queen Mary in September 2011 for a three year BA degree in Business and Management. Throughout his undergraduate years, he showed great academic potential and worked his way consistently towards his degree. He graduated in 2014. He was a promising student, showing a keen interest in his studies and at the same time vividly enjoying what university life with his fellow students had to offer. During his second year, he was elected Vice President of the Greek and Cypriot Society at Queen Mary, for which he undertook fundraising and event management.
Spyros was a man of wide interests. Trained in the classical guitar throughout his teenage years and having been public performances, he later took up sailing, which he described as providing him with the opportunities for leadership, control of risk-taking and accepting responsibility for the consequences of his actions which he knew would fit him for the kind of professional leadership role which was his aspiration.
What triggered his interest to continue his studies at Queen Mary was an elective module named Managing Public Services. Coming from Greece which at the time was in the midst of a severe economic crisis, Spyros thought, and convinced his tutors, that studying Public Administration in more depth would benefit him and his country.
He was accepted in the MPA programme in 2014. He proved to be a studious, sharp, critical and progressively more and more confident member of the MPA team. His fellow students readily chose him to represent them on the school’s Staff Student Liaison Committee, where he made their case with both humour and mature judgement.
Spyros’s MPA dissertation titled ‘Constraints of structural reforms: The Greek public sector and e-procurements’ received a distinction. He returned to Queen Mary for his graduation ceremony on 9th December 2015, having completed a thorough and rewarding period at the University and having started receiving offers for the exciting professional life that lay ahead.
He was a kind, charismatic person and full of potential. He was a great pleasure to work with and talk to. Since his death, fellow MPA students have been remembering his infectious smile. His remarks, in conversation as well as in class, were thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating. His sudden loss came as a shock to friends, staff and fellow students. He will be sorely missed and remembered by all of us at Queen Mary University of London and beyond.