GLENDALE–Ralph and Savey Tufenkian have donated $300,000 to underwrite the construction of a new school in the city of Gumri–Armenia. The school will be named the Richard Tufenkian Armenian Educational Foundation School in memory of their son who died in a tragic automobile accident in 1990.
"The AEF is grateful to have Ralph and Savey Tufenkian step forward and assume the entire AEF commitment," said Herand Der Sarkissian–Chair of the Armenia Projects Committee. "In view of this development–the AEF has further committed to completely furnish the school upon its completion as well."
The Tufenkian donation will cover 90 percent of the construction cost of the school–with the remainder to be raised by the government of Armenia. Presently–the school–which will replace the Gumri No. 5 School destroyed in the December 7–1988 earthquake–is 60 percent complete–and through the efforts of Shirag Region Governor Ararat Gomtsyan is slated for a fall 1998 opening.
The school currently operated in three sessions–serving some 750 students from kindergarten to the 10th grade. Classrooms are housed in temporary wooden containers (domigs)–and plans are to move 500 fifth through tenth grade students out of the facility and into the new building–running classes in two sessions.
In the summer of 1996–AEF Board members traveled to Armenia and negotiated the contract with Gomtsyan for the construction of the school. In October of that same year–the Tufenkians represented the AEF at a groundbreaking ceremony at the school sire in Gumri.
A 1990 donation by the Tufenkian family of $230,000 also established the Richard R. Tufenkian Memorial Scholarship Fund–through which the AEF has–for the past seven years–awarded $70,000 in scholarships to 40 deserving undergraduate university students.
Ralph Tufenkian is also a member of the AEF Board of Directors–and chairs the Armenian Schools Special Projects Committee–which this year allocated $40,000 to Armenian Schools in the United States.
The non-profit AEF was established in 1951 to serve the educational needs of the Armenian community–both in Armenia and in the diaspora–and has financed the construction of schools–the printing of textbooks–the creation of scholarships and the funding of university chairs–and provided financial assistance to educational institutions.