The Hellenic Cultural Society of San Diego, California, a not-for-profit corporation that has been serving the San Diego community since 1965, is dedicated to focusing attention on the great scholarly works of the Greeks for over three thousand years. Our goal is to preserve and propagate the greatness of the Greek philosophers, historians, mathematicians, scientists, writers, artists and other brilliant minds of Hellenic origin. We advocate teaching the traditional history of Western Civilization and its culture, which is rooted in Greece and is the most important element of the world’s democratic heritage.
To this end, our Hellenic Cultural Society struggled to create three endowed chairs in Greek History in the Division of Arts and Humanities, of the University of California, San Diego, (UCSD): The George J. and Penelope Nicholas Family Endowed Chair in Modern Greek History; The Alkiviadis Vassiliadis Endowed Chair in Byzantine History; The Jeannie and Gerry Ranglas Endowed Chair in Ancient Greek History.
In addition, all our library collections – almost two thousand volumes – are being given to The Audrey Geisel University Library at UCSD in support of the above-mentioned endowed chairs.
Our final goal is to establish a Hellenic Cultural Society – Educational Endowment Fund (HCS-EEF) to support graduate scholars and students majoring in Greek subjects through fellowship and scholarship grants, to perpetuate the truth of how immense the contributions of the Greeks were to the entire civilized world.We have a duty to perpetuate that truth – best stated by Sir Henry Sumner Maine’s dictum: “Except for the blind forces of Nature, nothing moves on this earth that is not Greek in its origin.”
It was this scholarly revelation that inspired us to create the Hellenic Cultural Society. One fateful Sunday afternoon in September, 1965, a few Greek American parishioners had gathered for coffee after having attended liturgical services at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in San Diego. They began discussing how best to preserve their family’s cultural heritage for the benefit of yet-to-be-born generations. These visionaries, Steve and Alice Aposperis, Irene and Earl J. Cantos, George D. Koulaxes, Mary and George S. Marinos, Katherine Nicholas and Sophie and George Stephens envisioned creating a dynamic organization to preserve and promote Hellenic culture for the benefit of all future generations.
They decided to name their new organization, “The Hellenic Cultural Society of San Diego, California.” The new organization had no funds, so they decided to raise funds through an annual charity “Hellenic Ball” in order to support their new organization. The first “Hellenic Ball” was co-chaired by Steve Aposperis and George D. Koulaxes in 1966. The inital plan was to raise enough money to build a Hellenic Cultural Center for present and future generations to participate in Hellenic cultural activities and to include a centrally housed collection of invaluable books and other assets, to assure there would always be a place to preserve and study their ancestor’s accomplishments. They wanted their children to understand the richness of thousands of years of Greek culture and history – to know and see the wonders of the great Greek minds – to read through the awesome songs of Homer – experience the greatness of Pericles’ “Golden Age” and all the Greek contributors down through the centuries to the modern literary masterpieces of George Seferis and Nikos Kazantzakis.
Thus was born the Hellenic Cultural Society which today has many loyal friends and supporters who never lose their zest for Hellenism. The first among them was our initial President George S. Marinos — under whose leadership we incorporated as a not-for-profit California corporation and built a library of scholarly works on Hellenic subjects, in both Greek and English. We also presented lectures on the full spectrum of Greek topics; a practice that was so successful, we continue to provide scholarly lectures and programs to this day – free and open to the public – so anyone can learn about the importance of Hellenic culture in the development of Western Civilization.