Dr. Kimon A. Doukas was born in Smyrna, Asia Minor, and came to the United States in 1922. He earned three degrees from Columbia: a B. S. in 1926, a M. A. in 1937, and the Ph. D. in 1945. His thesis, The French Railroads and the State was published as part of Columbia's Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law. Since retiring from shipping operations in 1975, he devoted his time to serving the Greek community in America. In keeping with his vision, before his passing in 1997, Dr. Doukas established the Kimon A. Doukas Chair.
In 1997 Professor Van Dyck was granted tenure and took on the full responsibilities of the Kimon A. Doukas chair. She turned her attention to long-term projects such as graduate studies, interdisciplinary planning with the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWAG), the Institute for the Study of Europe, the Harriman Institute, the Center for Literary Translation and the Institutie for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS), as well as the Library's Modern Greek collection. The Program also established the Kimon A. Doukas Lecture Series to honor the life of Kimon A. Doukas focusing on issues related to Diaspora.