GLENDALE, Calif.–The Haigazian University 55th Anniversary Banquet on November 12 at the Glendale Hilton Hotel was both a reunion with University Presidents, alumni, Women’s Auxiliary, board members, as well as a celebration with friends for the long, triumphal history of this institution of higher learning in Beirut, Lebanon. Today, graduates of Haigazian, representing scores of races, creeds, and nationalities, serve in prominent positions world-wide—bringing pride to their alma mater.
Raffi Kendirjian, co-chair of the 55th Anniversary Celebratory Committee, himself a Haigazian University graduate and past instructor of accounting at the University, welcomed those present. Kendirjian, in his remarks said, “Dear alumni; we are being called to duty by our alma mater to establish a Haigazian University Alumni Association in North America. We should all rise to the occasion in support of the institution that made a difference in our lives.”
Master of Ceremonies, Levon Filian, Executive Director of the Armenian Missionary Association of America and a Haigazian University alumni, guided the evening through the introductions of the four past presidents in attendance: Rev. Dr. John Markarian, Rev. Dr Gilbert Bilezikian, Rev. Dr. John Khanjian, and Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian. Co-Chairs Dr. Ani Darakjian and Raffi Kendirjian presented each president with an etching of the Haigazian Mugar Building created by Mrs. John (Inge) Markarian.
A short video presentation by Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, current President and Haigazian alumni, evoked memories of the University— drawing exclamations of recognition from the audience. The popular and versatile Element Band, with its unique instruments and trademark arrangements, created excitement.
Joyce Stein later introduced the honoree of the evening, Founding President, Rev. Dr. John Markarian. Stein represented the Stephen Philibosian Foundation, which has been one of the great supporters of the University over the decades.
Master of Ceremonies Levon Filian, Executive Director of the AMAA, introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Manoug Manougian, currently Chair of the Mathematics Department at the University of Southern Florida. Dr. Manougian taught math and physics at Haigazian in the 1960’s, and created the rocket program — actually launching the first rocket in the Middle East.
The commemorative booklet included messages from each of the presidents, and leading dignitaries. The many generous sponsors were an indication of the prestige Haigazian University has in the Academic world, and with its many long-time supporters.
Joyce Stein, who was the Haigazian Women’s Auxiliary President for over a decade, surprised the gathering with a $55,000 donation to the University from the Conte & Philibosian Foundations—in honor of the 55th anniversary.
The Haigazian Women’s Auxiliary, which participated in the planning of the evening with alumni, has during the last 50 years raised more than $1 million for scholarships and University needs.
Clergy representing the Diocese, Prelacy, Catholic, and Evangelical churches shared their congratulations and best wishes. Also present were representatives of the three Armenian Political Parties, the AGBU, as well as the Lebanese American Foundation and notable academic or community representatives. Also present was Honorable Mr. Grigor Hovhannissian, Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles.
What began as a dream of the late Dr. Armenag Haigazian, (and carried out in 1955 by his descendents, the Mehagian family,) Stephen Philibosian, and the AMAA, became this shining reality of an institution that never denied any qualified Armenian student admission.
The only Armenian University outside of Armenia survived the trauma of the civil war in Lebanon under the leadership of Dr. John Markarian, followed by ten years of dedicated leadership under Wilma Cholakian, Administrative Dean. With each subsequent president bringing his own expertise and talents, Haigazian has become one of the most highly regarded, premier educational institutions in the Middle East—bringing pride to Armenians all over the world.
The following individuals make up the Board of Trustees of Haigazian University, who reside in Lebanon as well as in the United States: Gary Phillips, Esq., Mrs. Seta Karagoezian, Robert Kurkjian, Anie Boujikanian, Prof. J.B.M. Kassarjian, Albert Momjian, Esq., Herair Mouradian, Dr. Ani Darakjian, John Sagherian, Rev. Robert Sarkissian, Mr. Nabil Ekmekji, Dr. Haroutune Nicolian, Dr.Joseph Zeronian, Mr. Louis Kurkjian, Dr. Vahe Nalbandian, Dr. Hrag Marganian, Hratch Sarkis, Dr. Ann Sarafian, Rev. Megrdich Melkonian, Joyce Stein, Levon Filian, Dr. Steven Aharonian.
All Haigazian presidents Paul Haidostian, John Khanjian, Gilbert Bilezikian and John Markarian; Grand Benefactors Jerry and Patricia Turpanjian; Benefactors Aram and Anahis Derian Boolghourjian; Joyce Phillibossian Stein Honorary Banquet Chairlady and Benefactor ; Raffi H Kendirjian Banquet Co Chair; All the clergy present at the event.