On October 14, 2014, Chancellor Randy Woodson announced an $8.1 million gift from Dr. Moise Khayrallah and Vera Khayrallah, to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to establish the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies at NC State University. This is the largest single gift in the history of the college, establishing the first endowed center on campus and the first center on the Lebanese diaspora in the world outside of Lebanon.
The gift will firmly establish NC State as the premier research and outreach center for the creation and dissemination of information on the Lebanese diaspora.
Dr. Moise Khayrallah is a friend of NC State and a serial biotech entrepreneur who has founded several drug-development companies. An alumnus of American University of Beirut and UNC-Chapel Hill, where he studied psychology, Dr. Khayrallah was named a Top Entrepreneur by Business Leader magazine in 2008 and serves as a board member of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.
Dr. Khayrallah and his wife of 30 years, Vera Khayrallah—a licensed social worker with a master of social work degree from UNC-Chapel Hill—immigrated to North Carolina from Lebanon in 1983.
The Khayrallahs established the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies at NC State in 2010 to provide funding to uncover the history of Lebanese-Americans in North Carolina, which dates back more than 100 years.
When asked about his decision to transition the program into a fully endowed center, Dr. Khayrallah shared, “We were very happy how the program unfolded, the excitement. We were also very happy how it brought together several programs at the university. Not only [did it] bring the history students and faculty together, it’s really brought students from all walks of the university—from design, to computer science, to museology.”
Dr. Khayrallah hopes the legacy of the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies will reach far beyond the Lebanese community. “The legacy will become not just really about this particular community and this particular program, but really a seed for other communities and other programs that tell the story of how great this place is. How great the state is, how great the United States is, because of what this community and so many others like it have made of it,” he said.
“I am proud to be American. I am also proud to be Lebanese. In a world where powerful forces are increasingly defining us by our differences, I am determined to work hard to highlight what makes us similar. This is the beauty of America: that we can all come here from all over the world, overcome our differences, and together build the most thriving society on earth.”
Dr. Moise and Vera Khayrallah are members of the William Joseph Peele Lifetime Giving Society and the Chancellor’s Circle.
“This unique center will provide our faculty and students with numerous opportunities to ask questions about the Lebanese diaspora, and also about other people migrations across the world,” Woodson said. “In doing so, it will advance knowledge about the global movements of peoples, ideas, commodities and cultures, and engage one of the most important and pressing dynamics in human history and globalization. It will provide funds to engage world-leading faculty conducting important research and provide experiential educational opportunities to our students.”