As the London Olympics begins, Memory Stream remembers an Olympian and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania—Michael M. Dorizas. Dorizas, competing as a member of the Greek Olympic team, won a bronze medal in the men’s stone throw in 1906 and silver medal in the javelin throw at the 1908 Olympic Games.
Dorizas was born to Greek parents in Constantinople (now Istanbul) where his father was First Secretary of the Greek Legation. He was educated in Turkey and attended Robert College, an American institution in Istanbul. During his college years, Dorizas was a member of the Greek Olympic team, when he competed in the men’s stone throw, javelin, discus throw, shot put, and other events.
Dorizas enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania for graduate school and became famous for his skills at wrestling and weight throwing. He broke a strength-testing machine there, earning him the reputation as the strongest man at UPenn. Dorizas received his M.A. degree and Ph.D. from UPenn and later became an assistant professor of geography at the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce. He traveled extensively each summer as he studied and gathered materials for his geography lectures. He worked at the Wharton School until his death in October of 1957.
The society's Michael M. Dorizas papers (MSS022) include correspondence, clippings, notes and writings, and course materials. Photographs from the collection have been separated under collection number PG119.
Image: Michael Dorizas in an undated photograph