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 (the director of the program until 2014) 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-five years ago, LMU went on to become one of a handful of universities in the United States to establish a program of Modern Greek Studies.
Today LMU offers a Minor in Modern Greek and it regularly offers six to eight courses that deal with the language, history, literature, music, dance, the arts, and the Greek Orthodox faith and tradition. It organizes an annual 4-week Summer Study Abroad Program in Greece, as well as lectures and other cultural events for the academic community and the Greek-American community of Southern California.
The work of the Center was made possible by the generous support of the late Peter B. Caloyeras and his wife Beverly who believed that a university level Modern Greek Studies program was needed to supplement the academic work done at various Classics departments in universities throughout the country. In 1980, the Program was named the Basil P. Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies in memory of Basil P. Caloyeras, Peter's father.
Among the earliest supporters of the Center were Aris and Caroline Anagnos, Aristid and Hope Berk, the 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. The Caloyeras Center over the years has also benefitted from the support of many other individuals and organizations: Rosalind Farmans Halikis, 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, the Onassis Foundation, and the Elios Charitable Foundation.
Looking to the Future
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 their father, Peter Caloyeras.
While the Caloyeras Center has been a meaningful presence for the preservation and promotion of Hellenism in the Greek-American community over the last decades, we still have much to do to ensure the continued success and sustainability of the program and visibility of Modern Greek Studies in higher education in the future. Your ongoing support is vital if we are to ensure the new generations of Greek-Americans will have a place where they can learn about the struggles and accomplishments of the older generations as well as about their own own cultural history and identity.
We encourage you to become an active member and supporter of our learning community. The courses and cultural activities we offer are all open to the community. Check our events page for news and upcoming events. Click here to make a donation.