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York College Prepared Finance Graduate to Operate an Environmental Organization

Jake Zortman Rivekeeper

Ted Evgeniadis ’13 has spent the last six years as the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, helping ensure that the waterway stays drinkable, fishable, and swimmable.

Up with the sun, Ted Evgeniadis wades along the bank of the Codorus Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River, cutting back overgrown vegetation to help avoid the need to use herbicides.

A few hours later, he meets with a team of lawyers to build a case against a chronic Susquehanna River polluter. Then he travels to a lab in Harrisburg to look at river water samples. In between, he manages budgets, meets with the media, and writes grants.

No two days are alike for the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper. He’s fulfilling a rich and varied role for which York College of Pennsylvania helped prepare him.

Evgeniadis, who earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, didn’t follow the traditional student path through college. After studying marine biology and business at another institution, he came to York College at 28 years of age. As a new resident of York, Evgeniadis was drawn to the vibrant community on and off campus, the school’s small class sizes, and the opportunity to connect with professors one-on-one.

"Getting my bachelor’s in Finance has molded me to do all the things that I'm doing now,” Evgeniadis says. “Without studying finance, I wouldn't be where I'm at. I'm running a nonprofit, which is the same as running a business."

The path to environmental advocacy

Evgeniadis's career path took an unexpected turn when he met Michael Helfrich, who served as the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper before Evgeniadis and now is Mayor of York City. Evgeniadis began volunteering with the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, participating in cleanup initiatives and projects. Soon after, he was invited to join the Board of Directors and eventually became Association Treasurer. His dedication to and passion for environmental conservation led to him taking over for Helfrich and assuming the role of Riverkeeper in 2017.

His responsibilities encompass the duties of executive director and advocate, leading the organization, taking legal action against polluters, and conducting research and analysis to protect the river. Evgeniadis’s education, including courses in derivative securities, investments, and real estate finance at York College prepared him for those multifaceted responsibilities. Before becoming Riverkeeper, he worked for a wealth-management company, which, in combination with his comprehensive understanding of financial concepts, equipped him with the skills to manage the organization effectively.

Evgeniadis fondly recalls his hands-on experiences at York College. Besides the volunteer opportunities he took advantage of, he traveled to El Salvador with professors and other students, an eye-opening trip aimed at assisting communities to install clean-water infrastructure. The experience broadened his perspective and highlighted the global impact of environmental issues.

Prepared for the future

Evgeniadis envisions continuing to lead the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, ushering in further growth and connecting with other waterkeeper networks. He hopes to pursue a law degree to enhance his understanding of environmental legal issues as he seeks to stop waterway polluters in their tracks.

"To receive an education and to receive the quality of education that York College provides is just a huge opportunity that shouldn't go to waste,” Evgeniadis says. “You’ve got to work your butt off, go to class, collaborate with fellow students, and build relationships with professors and staff."

Beyond the classroom, Evgeniadis encourages students to immerse themselves in the community and to explore and embrace the many local opportunities for personal and professional growth.

“Apply yourself, build relationships, have fun, and explore,” Evgeniadis advises students. “I'm forever grateful for my time at York College."