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Culture

UCLA SNF Center Announces SNF & Ioannis P. and Eirini Caloyeras Lectureship

September 5, 2022

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture on September 1 announced the establishment of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) & Ioannis P. and Eirini Caloyeras Lectureship in Modern Greek. Jointly funded by SNF and Peter J. Caloyeras, the endowment establishes a permanent, full-time lecturer in Modern Greek Language and Culture, ensuring that courses in these subjects will be permanently offered at the university. In addition, the courses will be housed in UCLA’s Department of Classics, which has recently added a Minor in Greek Language and Culture. This gift builds on a previous donation to the Center by Peter J. Caloyeras and Caroline Belz Caloyeras, which established an endowment for the arts.

Dr. Sharon Gerstel, Director of the UCLA SNF Hellenic Center, commented: “We are delighted to strengthen the educational mission of our Center through the addition of a permanent lecturer in Modern Greek Language and Culture. We are extremely grateful to both the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Peter J. Caloyeras for their continued support of our Center and for understanding that the study of the Modern Greek language connects our students and community both to Greece and to their Hellenic heritage.”

Casey Russo, SNF Co-Chief Programs Officer, said, “congratulations to the Center on the establishment of this new lectureship, an exciting addition that will benefit students for generations to come. Familiarity with Modern Greek will allow students to more fully engage with Hellenic culture – which is to say with a vibrant international community of ideas and exchange. From the outset, community and support from partners like the Caloyeras family have been key to the Center’s success, and SNF is proud be a part of this collaborative expansion of educational opportunity.”

The lectureship is partially named for Ioannis P. and Eirini Caloyeras, the parents of Peter J. Caloyeras. According to Caloyeras, “my parents would be honored by this lectureship. My parents and other family members for generations were born and lived on Spetses. As ship owners and shipping agents mainly, they traveled widely and experienced other cultures. Schooling was important to the family but limited on Spetses, so after completing the primary grades, they were sent to Piraeus to attend secondary school and to have professional training. Education was very important to my parents and for that reason they and my uncle encouraged me to come to the United States to study engineering. And it remains important to me personally.”

Commenting on his decision to support an endowed position in Modern Greek, Caloyeras stated, “the establishment of this lectureship is the most important way that I can honor my parents and it is meaningful to me as it furthers my parents’ goals and values. In making this donation, I am expanding my family’s commitment to support Hellenic Studies programs in the Los Angeles area. For me, the connection between Los Angeles and Greece is of critical importance as it informs and inspires the next generation of young people through the study of the Greek language and its transmission of Greek culture.”

The connection to SNF also holds a deep meaning for Caloyeras, who said, “this donation also allows me to express my personal gratitude to Stavros Niarchos and SNF because the gift contributes to the close partnership of the UCLA SNF Center for Hellenic Culture and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in Greece. It also offers me an opportunity to acknowledge the important role that Stavros Niarchos, as a neighbor who owned and lived on nearby Spetsopoula island, maintained with the island of Spetses. Niarchos’s personal contributions benefitted life on Spetses and he and his family have long been a part of its daily life.”

The UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture was established by a lead gift from SNF and matching funds provided by generous members of the Hellenic and Philhellenic community of Southern California. Featuring two named professorships in Hellenic Studies, graduate and undergraduate student funding, and support for the arts, the Center builds on UCLA’s strengths across many academic fields, placing Hellenic culture within a broad historical and contemporary context. In addition, the Center supports a comprehensive set of academic and public initiatives locally, through strategic collaborations with organizations in Southern California, and in Greece and Cyprus, through partnerships with universities and cultural institutions.

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