It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of our dear friend and longtime fundholder at the Center for Arab American Philanthropy, Dr. Philip M. Kayal. Dr. Kayal passed away only a few weeks after his 80th birthday surrounded by loved ones on Thursday, December 21, 2023.
Dr. Kayal’s legacy is nothing short of extraordinary. Born in Brooklyn, New York, to a family of Syrian heritage, Dr. Kayal dedicated decades of his life to humanitarian causes and spotlighting the authentic Arab American narrative. A distinguished professor of sociology at Seton Hall University for 40 years, Dr. Kayal made significant contributions to the understanding of ethnicity and religion through his extensive list of publications including his book, The Syrian-Lebanese in America. His passion for addressing and dismantling stereotypes of Arab Americans led him to establish the Dr. Philip M. Kayal Fund for Arab American Research at the Center for Arab American Philanthropy (CAAP). Through this fund, he supported countless scholars across the country, fostering research on various aspects of the Arab American experience. In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Kayal curated an exhibition on Arab New York, showcasing the rich history and culture of the community at the Museum of the City of New York.
Reflecting on giving, Dr. Kayal once shared, “Philanthropy has so many benefits; by giving back, we learn to deal with illness, death, stigma, finding ourselves and our identity, making friends, the list goes on.”