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9.05.06 Sophia Gordon Hall: What's in a name?

by Mark Sullivan

The person behind the name of Tufts' newest residence hall is a self-made success, an artist and dancer, and still the most beautiful woman her husband has ever met.

Sophia Delikaris Gordon arrived in Boston from her native Greece as a teenager, alone and near penniless, two years after the close of the Second World War.

The wife of pioneering computer engineer and philanthropist Bernard Gordon, H92, she has gone on to walk with corporate CEOs and world leaders. Yet she remains a woman of the Old World, her husband says, to whom hearth and home are paramount.

So it is fitting that the new residence hall dedicated in her name September 6 will be, for future generations of Tufts students-many who have traveled afar-a true home away from home.

"That's a nice thought," says Bernard Gordon, Tufts trustee and School of Engineering overseer, whose generosity financed the building's construction.

Her story, he said, is in many ways, the classic immigrant's tale.

The daughter and sister of cab drivers in Piraeus, the port of Athens, Delikaris was raised in a mud cottage with a thatched roof and no running water. She had little formal education; the Nazis invaded and shut the schools when she was 11.

She came to Boston on her own at age 15, and found work as a dancer. When naval reserve officer Bernard Gordon met her, it was, he says, love at first sight.

"We have never been apart one day in 46 years," he says.

Gordon, cofounder and president of NeuroLogica Corporation of Danvers, Massachusetts, is considered the father of high-speed analog-to-digital conversion. He worked on the world's first commercial digital computer, and founded a company that developed the first fetal monitor and the first lightweight mobile CT scanner, among other innovations.

His wife has been his support and inspiration throughout, Gordon says. She has encouraged his endeavors, traveled widely with him, and met and charmed movers, shakers, and dignitaries worldwide.

The couple's involvement in the arts, sciences, and public service has been a source of pride for his wife's family in Greece. "Their walls are filled with pictures of Sophia with the president of France at Tufts, of Sophia with Secretary of State Colin Powell at Tufts, of Sophia with President Bill Clinton at Tufts," says Gordon. "They figure she's very high up."

He does, too. The new residence hall is just one more way of showing it.

"When you have the best wife in the world," he says, "it's easy to name something after her."