The UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture announces the establishment of the Mary Calfas Janos Program Fund

Published: July 8, 2024
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The UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture is delighted to announce the establishment of the Mary Calfas Janos Program Fund, an endowment that will support music-related programming. The fund, established by the Janos Family Trust, is named in memory of Mary Calfas Janos (1929-2022), a UCLA alumna and Los Angeles resident who loved music, opera, reading, and Greek food, music, dance, and art. Calfas Janos was an active member of the Hellenic University Club of Southern California, which was conferred to UCLA in 2019.

“We thought the UCLA SNF Center was a perfect fit to honor our Aunt Mary, given her longtime connection to UCLA and her lifelong support and interest in the types of programming and educational opportunities it presents,” said nephew Bob Calfas (UCLA 1971), Trustee of the Janos Family Trust. “The fact that so many members of our extended family are UCLA graduates is an added bonus. The family looks forward to watching the SNF Center’s continued contributions to the understanding and celebration of Hellenic Culture.”

Janos was one of seven children born to parents from the beautiful village of Eressos on the island of Lesvos, Greece. Although the family originally settled in Connecticut upon arrival in the United States, they moved to Los Angeles in 1948. Mary and three of her siblings attended UCLA. Following her graduation, she worked for the City of Santa Monica as a teacher of reading. She and her husband, Cleon Janos, also of Greek decent, loved to travel and among much else volunteered together as docents at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She regularly spent time in Greece visiting family and friends and frequently returned to her family’s village with cousins and other relatives.

“On behalf of the Center, I thank the Calfas family for their generous support of music programming at UCLA,” said Sharon E. J. Gerstel, Director of the UCLA SNF Hellenic Center and George P. Kolovos Family Centennial Term Chair in Hellenic Studies. “This gift, which recognizes and honors Mary Calfas Janos’ love of music and art, will allow the Center to showcase works by Greek and Greek-American composers and musicians. Our Center has sponsored important performances since it was established, and this endowment will allow us to continue our important work in this area for years to come.”

In the last two years, the Center has produced a new opera, Polymnia, by composer Theodosia Roussos, and has hosted a performance by Greek-Cypriot composer, lyricist, and singer Alkinoos Ioannidis. On October 27, 2024, the Center, with the assistance of the Mary Calfas Janos Program Fund, will offer a performance by the acclaimed vocal ensemble, Cappella Romana, “In the Footsteps of St. Demetrios.” Held on the weekend of the saint’s feast day, this newly composed program will focus on the rich musical heritage of Thessaloniki, Byzantium’s second city and one closely connected to Mount Athos. The performance, co-sponsored by the UCLA Department of Music, will take place in the Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The event is being held under the auspices of the Consulate General of Greece in Los Angeles and the Metropolis of San Francisco.

The UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture (UCLA SNF Center) was established through a lead gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation 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. The Center supports a comprehensive set of academic and public initiatives, both locally, through strategic collaborations with organizations in Southern California, and in Greece and Cyprus, through partnerships with universities and cultural institutions.

For more information about the UCLA SNF Hellenic Center, visit