BY PHYLLIS HAMO
Thanks to charitable sponsors and contributors, Syrian Armenian refugee students at Haigazian University in Beirut, Lebanon became recipients of new scholarships created at a sold-out dinner dance held 7,000 miles away at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada, California on August 6, 2016.
“An Evening in the Garden” was deemed “mission accomplished” by Haigazian Board Members, Auxiliary members, alumni, and the planning committee. Following a social hour in the Descanso Garden Patio, guests adjourned to the banquet room for dinner, dancing, and an informative program, which began with the invocation offered by Joseph H. Stein, Jr., a lifelong supporter of Haigazian, a champion of education, and past president of the California State Board of Education. The Very Rev. Fr. Pakrad Berjikian of the Western Diocese prayed in Armenian.
Dr. Hasmig Baran, a member of the Haigazian University Board of Trustees and Prelacy Schools Board of Regents, gave an update on recent Haigazian events and successes. She praised Haigazian University President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, Alumni Chairman Raffi Kendirjian, who served as the evening’s MC, and the active alumni. She also credited Women’s Auxiliary President Joyce Stein and Auxiliary members for their decades of devotion, and the loyal Haigazian Board of Trustees which has been chaired by Dr. Ani Darakjian for the past seven years.
According to Dr. Baran, “Haigazian has recently added a Director to its Armenian Studies Department, Dr. Nanor Karageozian, and a new PR position, Director of Advancement, Dro Abrahamian.
Testimonies were offered by Haigazian graduates Houri Tavitian (Class of 1985) and Serge Kurdian (Class of 2011). Houri remembers the difficult Lebanese war years and credits Haigazian for her life successes. To the audience she gratefully said, “You were there for us.” Graduate Student Kurdian, informed the crowd that he, too, is thankful for the opportunities Haigazian has afforded him. He is presently continuing his studies at California State University, Northridge.
Founded in 1955, Haigazian University is the only Armenian University in the Diaspora. Most of the 39 Syrian Armenian students studying at Haigazian are, understandably, receiving tuition and housing support. Additional contributions for displaced Syrian Armenian students at Haigazian may be sent to the Armenian Missionary Association of America, 31 W. Century Rd., Paramus, NJ, 07652.