LOS ANGELES–This week marked a historic occasion as Los Angeles City College (LACC) officially inaugurated its first Armenian American president–Dr. Steve Maradian. Held before an overflowing crowd comprised of faculty–students–administration–political representatives–and community supporters–the inaugural was especially meaningful for the large number of Armenian American students attending LACC.
Demonstrating the Armenian community’s strong support for Maradian were representatives of the Armenian National Committee Western Region (ANC-WR) Board–the local Hollywood ANC–as well as individual community members. "LACC plays an important role in providing many students within the Armenian community with the opportunity for higher education and we look forward to supporting Dr. Maradian as he assumes the many important responsibilities as the college’s next president," said Steve Dadaian–Chairman of the ANC-WR.
Academic Senate President–Dana Cohen–served as the day’s master of ceremonies and speaking on behalf of the LACC Board of Trustees was Board President Sylvia Scott-Hayes. Representing the Los Angeles City Council was LA City Councilmember and LACC alumnus Tom LaBonge who spoke of his fond memories as an LACC student and the school’s vital role in the community. There were a variety of artistic performances including a dance program put together by students–including traditional Armenian dances–which represented the ethnic diversity of the student body.
Michael Adams–President of the Associated Student Body–spoke of his first meetings with Maradian and how impressed he was with Maradian’s vision for the college. Rocky Young–Chancellor of the college introduced Maradian upon his official inauguration as president.
Maradian started his speech by acknowledging his grandparents’ inspirational role in encouraging him to enter the field of higher education. Maradian spoke of his grandparents’ escape from the Armenian genocide and his grandmother–who in the early 20th century managed to pursue higher education from a missionary school in Van. Showing the audience his grandmother’s pin–Maradian said–"Education remains the single most important factor in shaping ones future." He went on to say that the quality of the education at LACC must continually be elevated and that everyone must feel welcome at the college. He stressed that he will work to connect the college to the world and that he is committed to plans already underway to expand and update the school’s facilities.
Prior to coming to LACC–Maradian was Vice President of Government Relations at the American University of Armenia and has held a variety of positions as President of Middle Georgia College–Executive Director of the Regional Maritime Technology Center of the University of New Orleans–President of Lamar College (Orange–TX) and President of Belmont Technical College (Ohio).
After the official ceremonies there was a reception sponsored by various companies and organizations including the Armenian Relief Society’s Los Angeles "Mayr" Chapter.