Event Highlights

A Conversation with Michael Dukakis


On March 28, 2019, former Governor and Democratic Party Presidential nominee Michael Dukakis spoke to a packed room, full of college students and young professionals stressing the importance of civic engagement.

Since his early steps in public service during the 1960s, Dukakis has been committed to government reform, cleansing the political system from corruption and encouraging young professionals to serve. As one the founders of the Commonwealth Organization of Democrats (COD), Dukakis dedicated several evenings each week, actively recruiting idealistic, honorable and able professionals to run for office in an effort to reinvigorate local and state government with a new generation, committed to the ideal of a genuine Democracy with respect for human and civil rights.

At the talk, organized by the Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies, the former Massachusetts Governor, Northeastern University Distinguished Professor and visiting professor at UCLA’s School of Public Affairs, contemplated the current state of U.S. politics and our country’s future. Evgenia Beniatoglou, the Consul General of Greece in Los Angeles, introduced the Governor to a standing ovation. 


The event was dedicated to Aris Anagnos, the Los Angeles Greek-American community leader and Dukakis’ friend, who passed away last year. Anagnos, co-founded, chaired and financed countless cultural, philanthropic and political organizations and initiatives, including The Caloyeras Center at LMU.  Daughter Thalia, his son Demos and daughter-in-law Carol Anagnos attended the event and received an honorary plaque. “Our family is honored to be a small part of Governor Dukakis’ journey to inspire Hellenism in American civic life today” stated Demos and Thalia Anagnos. “Our father strongly encouraged young people to effect change and get involved in politics. He was very proud of Governor Michael Dukakis’ success. Together they frequently fought for social justice and a better America for everyone.”

The Caloyeras Center was honored to host Governor Dukakis while honoring Aris Anagnos, as the life and mission of both men exemplifies LMU’s mission to educate our students in their civic duties and responsibilities, and in the protection of human rights.

Governor Dukakis spoke about the founders of the The Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies at LMU. “Peter Caloyeras and Aris Anagnos were two extraordinary Greek-Americans, who I’d like to think are representative of a lot of us, who either immigrated to this country, or are the children of immigrants and did great things, in many, many ways. As a Greek-American, I am proud about what we’ve done, and what other immigrants like us, have done.

Dukakis expressed his hope that, like Pericles, “this university and other schools around the country will encourage young people ‘to get deeply, and actively, involved in the political life of their communities.’”

The event was co-hosted by the LMU Peace and Justice Studies, the History Department, the American-Hellenic Council, the Greek Heritage Society, the Hellenic Library, the LA Greek Film Festival, and the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture. It was filmed in connection with Nikolette Orlandou’s documentary, entitled Greek Diaspora.

The event was covered by several publications (for the full article, click here). 

For photos of the event, see here


Michael Stanley Dukakis was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on November 3, 1933. His parents, Panos and Euterpe (Boukis) Dukakis both emigrated from Greece to the mill cities of Lowell and Haverhill, Massachusetts before marrying and settling in the town of Brookline, just outside Boston. Dukakis graduated from Swarthmore College (1955) and Harvard Law School (1960).  

Dukakis won his party’s nomination for Governor in 1974 and beat Republican Francis (Frank) Sargent decisively in November of that year. He inherited a record deficit and record high unemployment and is generally credited with digging Massachusetts out of one of its worst financial and economic crises in history. In 1986, his colleagues in the National Governors’ Association voted him the most effective governor in the nation.

Dukakis won the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States in 1988 but was defeated by George Bush. Soon thereafter, he announced that he would not be a candidate for reelection as governor.

Since June 1991, Dukakis has been a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University and, since January 1996, a visiting professor at the School of Public Affairs at UCLA. His research has focused on national health care policy reform and the lessons that national policy makers can learn from state reform efforts.

Dukakis was nominated by President Clinton for a five-year term as a member of the new Board of Directors of Amtrak, The National Railroad Passenger Corporation on May 21, 1998 and was confirmed by the Senate on June 25, 1998. He served a full five-year term on the Amtrak Board as Vice-Chairman.

He and former U.S. Senator Paul Simon authored a book entitled How to Get Into Politics and Why, which is designed to encourage young people to think seriously about politics and public service as a career.

Demetrios Liappas

Professor Demetrios Liappas's Retirement Gathering

On Saturday, May 19, 2018, Professor Demetrios Liappas celebrated his retirement from the directorship of the Basil P. Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies at Loyola Marymount University.  At an elegant reception at the William H. Cannon library with a breath-taking view of the Pacific Ocean and the Los Angeles basin, a gathering of former students, friends, supporters, and colleagues exchanged memories as Lambros Howard played traditional Greek music.  Many of the Center’s strongest, most loyal supporters attended, among them: Peter and Vivi Demopoulos, Cleo Andrews, Hope Berk, Dalia and Kip Miller, George and Tina Kolovos, Eleftheria and Ted Polychronis, Rosalind Halikis, and Peter and Caroline Caloyeras.  Several of the leading organizations for the Greek community of Southern California were represented by their leadership including the Hellenic University Club by the current President, Dr. Zafiris Gourgouliatos, the Federation of Greek Organizations of Southern California by Dr. Philip Trevezas, President, and the Greek Heritage Society by the current President, Shelly Papadopoulos, former President Zoyë Fidler, and board member Anna Gianniotis.  After more than forty years of teaching and administration, Professor Liappas was passing the torch to Professor Christina Bogdanou, the current Director of the Center.  

The gathering was blessed by Fr. John Bakas, Dean of St. Sophia Cathedral, who is also an Adjunct Professor of Theology at LMU, teaching courses in Greek Orthodoxy and Greek Orthodox Spirituality for the Center and the Department of Theology.  Fr. Bakas and Presbytera Bakas were joined at the reception by Fr. and Presbytera Michael Courey of St. Katherine’s in Redondo Beach. Another long-time supporter of the Center, the Honorable Andreas Kyprianides, Honorary Consul General of Cyprus, served as Master of Ceremonies. Demetrios Liappas, with Andreas Kyprianides and Aris Anagnos, Dr. Jim Dimitriou, and Ted Polychronis—all present at the reception—were among the original founders of the Save Cyprus Council which has evolved into the dynamic political action group, the American Hellenic Council.  

Also in attendance were some of Professor Liappas’ family members who had flown in from the east coast and from Australia.  They were his sister Katy Christodouleas, her sons Drs. James and John Chrisodouleas, her daughter Dr. Tina Christodouleas Tabakovic, and their nephew, Apostolos Pinakidis.  Dr. James Christodouleas of Price Waterhouse Cooper, Australia, spoke of the family’s love for their brother and uncle.  Basil P. Caloyeras, whose father, Peter, first endowed the Center, added his words of appreciation for Professor Liappas’ achievements and renewed his pledge to support the work of the Center.  The Associate Dean of Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at LMU, Dr. Molly Youngkin, talked about the importance of the instructional program of the Center in the academic mission of the university.  The Center offers a Minor in Modern Greek Studies, one of very few institutions in the United States to do so, and also supports the mission of the university with a strong and vital summer abroad experience, the Odyssey Program in Greece.  Three former students of the Center, Antigoni Vasilopoulou ’15, Gabriel Courey ’09, and Fotis Davlantis ’04 gave moving tributes to the life-changing opportunities that Professor Liappas and the Center had provided them in their education.  Donna Gray, Director of Development at Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, thanked the many donors who were present and reminded us all that philanthropy is a Greek virtue.  The program ended with Professor Liappas telling us of the history of the Basil P. Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies and expressing his gratitude for all the years of support that so many in the Greek community have given the Center.  He was especially touched by the presence of Vasso Fischer, former President of the Hellenic University Club, Zoyë Fidler, founding President of the Greek Heritage Society and Aris Anagnos, founder of the Save Cyprus Council and long-time supporter of social justice and generous supporter of the Center.


For photos of the event, please click here