Alice Costandina Titus, better known to her Nevada constituents as Dina, is running for Congress from Nevada’s First Congressional District, which is the heart of the Las Vegas valley. Dina previously served in the 111th Congress. She also brings twenty years of service in the Nevada State Senate, fifteen of which as Minority Leader. Dina, a proud granddaughter of Greek Immigrant Arthur Constandinos Cathones, is a well-respected political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, having taught there for thirty-four years.
Dina’s Greek heritage has always been close to her heart and an important part of her life even though she did not have the privilege of living in a large Greek community. Growing up in a small town in Georgia where her grandfather operated a restaurant, the family would have to drive to the nearest city – over a hundred miles away in Florida – to find feta cheese and Kalamata olives.
Dina’s grandfather came to the U.S. in 1911, landing at Ellis Island. She had a close relationship with him growing up. Since there was no church or Greek school nearby, her grandfather taught her to count and write the alphabet in Greek and introduced her to wonderful Greek food. When they took family trips, the first thing Dina looked for at any restaurant was a calendar with a picture of the Parthenon on the walls to see if it was run by Greeks. Dina honored the life and memory of her grandfather by purchasing a brick with his name on it at the restored Ellis Island. She was also sworn into Congress with her hand on her grandfather’s Greek Bible.
As an adult, Dina has fully embraced her Hellenic heritage. She first traveled to Greece in 1980, visiting relatives in Athens and Trikala, and has since returned a number of times. She loves traveling throughout the country with books on Greece’s rich history in hand in order to get a deeper understanding the country’s regions, ruins, culture, and cuisine.
As a proud Greek, Dina’s heritage has shaped her outlook and perspective on life and the world. She has spoken out in favor of Hellenism in the classroom and in the Nevada legislature, where she sponsored resolutions honoring the consecration of the new Greek church in Las Vegas and recognizing that Macedonia is Greek. She was honored for these efforts by the Pan-Macedonia Association of America. She also received the Pericles award from the American Hellenic Council in Los Angeles in 2009 and was honored by PSEKA at the 26th Annual Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. More recently, Dina was honored at the 2012 Salute to Women event hosted by the Daughters of Penelope. Dina attends the St. John the Baptist Church in Las Vegas and participates in activities of the Philoptochos Society and Daughters of Penelope. She keeps in close touch with her fellow members of the Greek community in Las Vegas and around the country.
In Congress, Dina was a member of the Hellenic Caucus and stood in strong support of efforts to protect the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, to reunify Cyprus, and to maintain the Greek sanctity of the name and symbols of Macedonia. She has sought the wise counsel of members of the Greek community on these important issues and considers Rep. John Sarbanes a mentor. In June of 2009, Dina was honored to represent President Obama at the opening of the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, where she met with Greek leaders to discuss the important relationship between the United States and Greece. She was privileged to meet His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when he came to Washington in November 2009. She has built strong relationships with the embassies of Greece and Cyprus, which has resulted in increased cooperation between Athens, Nicosia, and Washington. Dina has also been a leader in the effort to pass resolutions in the House recognizing the independence of Greece and the Daughters of Penelope. She will continue to fight for Greek issues when she returns to Congress.