LOS ANGELES – UCLA announced on June 15 that it has established a new endowed chair in Hellenic Studies. A gift commitment from George and Tina Kolovos has created the George P. Kolovos Family Centennial Term Chair in Hellenic Studies, which supports a distinguished scholar in the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture. The Center is a hub for multidisciplinary research, teaching and public programs aimed at the Los Angeles Hellenic community.
Dean of Humanities David Schaberg said, “Our deep gratitude goes to the Kolovos family for their generous investment in this new endowed chair. It’s a tremendous boost to the Niarchos Foundation Center and will have a long-term impact on Hellenic studies at UCLA and beyond.”
The Kolovos’ philanthropic gift is augmented by the Centennial Term Chair Match Fund in the UCLA College, part of a $3 million campaign to raise external match funds following a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in 2017 to initiate the Center.
UCLA engineering alumnus George Kolovos is a local real estate investor and developer, having previously worked for 32 years as an engineer and manager at Hughes Aircraft. He and his wife, Tina, are steadfast supporters of the arts in Los Angeles, particularly as it relates to Hellenic culture, as well as of archaeological and artistic endeavors in Greece. The couple are benefactors of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival and of the Society for the Revival of the Nemea Games. The couple established the Kolovos Chair to honor their children and grandchildren and to commemorate the memory of George Kolovos’ parents, Panayotis and Maria.
Kolovos said, “I left Greece to come to this great country to educate myself. I had planned to go back to my beautiful homeland and work there for the best interests of my country. This was my dream, but the conditions were never right for me to return. I continued to live with a great love for my homeland and an admiration for what my ancestors have contributed and how our culture has helped our world. I adopted this great country as my second home, but my hope and my heart have always been in Greece and in the Hellenic culture. By establishing this chair, I am fulfilling a desire to connect my adopted country with the country of my birth.”
Sharon Gerstel, the Center’s founding director and a professor of Byzantine art and archaeology, has been selected as the inaugural holder of the Kolovos Chair. Gerstel’s scholarly work focuses on the intersection of ritual and art in Byzantium. Her most recent publications concern village communities in Lakonia.
“I am honored to be the first holder of the George P. Kolovos Family Centennial Term Chair in Hellenic Studies,” said Gerstel. “George and Tina Kolovos are exceptional people who have a broad vision of philanthropy. I am so proud to be part of the effort to build a solid foundation for this field at UCLA, and equally excited to begin sharing the rich history and traditions of Hellenic culture with the world.”
More information is available online: https://hellenic.ucla.edu/.