|In 1972, Professor Hugh Gray, newly retired from UCLA, was invited to teach any course he wanted in the Humanities at Loyola Marymount University. He chose to teach Modern Greek Poetry in translation. A year later he invited Demetrios Liappas to introduce a new course in the Modern Greek language to "see if it would appeal to the students." From these humble beginnings almost forty years ago, Loyola Marymount University went on to become one of a handful universities in the United States to establish a program of Modern Greek Studies. Today it offers a Minor in Modern Greek Studies, organizes an annual Summer Study Abroad Program in Greece and regularly offers a series of six to eight courses that deal with the language, history, literature, music, dance, the arts, and the Orthodox Christian faith and tradition.
Through the collective effort of dedicated scholars and inspired philanthropists, the Caloyeras Center encourages students to follow an interdisciplinary approach as they study Modern Greece in a contemporary context; as part of Europe and the world community. The center is deeply involved in the life of the University by sponsoring lectures on subjects of interest to the students, the Greek American community of Southern California and the larger public. It has furthered, in meaningful ways, research in Modern Greek Studies as well as in the rich tradition and contributions of the Greek-American Diaspora. Through a special arrangement, all the courses are available to the local community for a substantially reduced fee. Because of the center, notables from the academic, political and business world, both from Greece and from other regions of the United States, visit our campus and share their expertise with the students, the faculty, and the community.
The students can compete for several academic awards funded by various donors: The five Peter B. Caloyeras scholarships for the Odyssey Summer Study Abroad Program in Greece (supported by the Caloyeras family); The Mary Tsassis Award in Modern Greek and European History‒given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence in Modern Greek and European History; The Barbara and Hugh Gray Award in Modern Greek Studies‒given for academic excellence in Modern Greek Studies (supported by the Leventhal family); The Summer Scholarship to the Institute for Balkan Studies in Thessaloniki, Greece‒given for academic excellence in Modern Greek language (sponsored by the Greek Ministry of Culture).
This record of academic achievement is possible because of the generous support of the late Peter B. Caloyeras and his wife Beverly who realized that a Modern Greek Studies Program at the university level was needed to supplement the work done at the Classics departments commonly found in universities throughout the country. Among the earliest supporters of the program were Aris and Caroline Anagnos, Aristid and Hope Berk, Hon. Andreas and Mika Kyprianides, Peter and Vivi Demopoulos, Nick Patsaouras, George and Cleo Andrews, Prof. Nick and Sue Alexopoulos, Angelo Tsakopoulos, Shafi and Calliope Babu-Khan, Mary Lynn and John Rallis, and George and Tina Kolovos.
In 1980, the Program was named the Basil P. Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies in memory Basil P. Caloyeras, Peter's father. It has also benefitted from the support of many other individuals and organizations: The Hellenic University Club, the AKT Community Fund, the Axios organization, the Rallis Foundation, the Greek Heritage Society, the Hellenic American Council, the Greek Ministry of Culture, and the Onassis Foundation.
A strong endowment adequate to meet the center’s needs is of the utmost importance for the future of the program. The center is grateful to Beverly Caloyeras for her continued support and to the younger generation of the Caloyeras family, Basil and Jennifer Caloyeras, as well as Alexandra Caloyeras and Aliki Caloyeras, for their fervent embrace of the vision of Peter Caloyeras. However, additional funds need to be raised from throughout the Greek American community in order to maintain and expand the invaluable work done by the center.