Hacopian Leads New Year at GCC

Armine Hacopian with Rep. Adam Schiff

GLENDALE—Glendale Community College starts the year with the most senior board member, Dr. Armine Hacopian, as one of the five board members at the helm.

Dr. Armine Hacopian was reelected to the GCC board for a fourth term last April. Due to her hard work, commitment, educational, and career choices she has served as an outstanding role model for students.

Hacopian came to the USA at the age of 16, in 1969, unable to speak any English. She had always been an outstanding student, so she was determined to not allow a language barrier to stop her from achieving and accomplishing. By the end of her first year, she had already decided that she would choose the field of education as a career path, with the goal to help newcomers overcome challenges faced when migrating to the USA. To this day she is following her passion of helping others through education, as was the promise she made to her ailing father.

Hacopian’s father experienced the acts of Genocide, first-hand, at the age of five, as he watched the slaughter of his mother and father and his extended family, while hiding in the shrubs. Paralyzed with fear, he didn’t move for several days. He was found days later and rushed to an orphanage, where, along with scores of other homeless children, he was subjected to abuse. Needless to say he grew up without any love or tenderness, nor education. Later he became self educated in the art of photography, and through great effort and hard work, he was hired as the official photographer of the Shah of Iran.
Therefore, he raised his children by instilling in them the belief that education was critical for success in life. He provided encouragement that his children needed to focus and shine in at least one area, to have big dreams, and never to forget to help those in need. Armine being one of his children, took this to heart and based her life on this one piece of advice.

In honor of her father, Armine became a life long learner, she continued many years of education beyond earning a BA. With two MAs, six credentials, and a doctorate in educational leadership and supervision, Dr. Hacopian has become one of the first Armenian-American women to break down career boundaries by seeking an elected political office for an institution of higher learning. Hacopian has learned from her mother how to be dedicated to an organization with unconditional love, as her mother (Anelka Shirvanian Shadakhouni) has been one of the longest serving members of ARS for more than fifty years. Hacopian has brought that unconditional love and commitment to GCC.

Throughout her career, Dr. Hacopian has been extremely busy in leadership roles, helping her community thrive by belonging to various community service organizations. Being a board member of the League of Women Voters, the goal to educate the community to become better informed voters has been an on going passion. Currently, she also serves on the Royal Canyon Property Owners Association where she has brought joint concerns between GCC and the neighbors for discussions and solutions.

She was one of the co-chairs who helped pass a $98million dollar bond measure for capital improvements at GCC. Through her genuine hard work, and with the support of her co-trustees, the Garfield campus construction plan received an additional funding of two million dollars. Her new effort will be towards focusing on the new construction plan – which will start very soon at GCC – of the Student Services Lab building, where many of the student services will be housed, built with state funding.

During her career, Dr. Hacopian has been an outstanding teacher, department chair, counselor, and coordinator of Even Start Family Literacy program, through which she was able to work closely with Head Start and provide parenting classes and mitigate domestic abuse as a result. She also was an ESL specialist, helping teachers improve their skills as they worked with students, whose primary language was not English.

In addition, she has been on K-12 and college accreditation teams, both internal and external. She has presented at numerous conferences, focusing on motivation, diversity, education, and workplace sexual harassment prevention and its impact on victims. Serving on doctoral dissertation committees has been another recent commitment of hers.

She was a consultant for the Department of Affirmative Action of La County, where she was able to train sexual harassment prevention and understanding differences to the executives and upper management teams. A trainer of trainers, she has been a sought after consultant in the areas of  career transitions, diversity understanding, and sexual harassment prevention, communication and conflict management, program reviews and leadership evaluations, and motivating employees are just to name a few.

One of Dr. Hacopian’s experiences most dear to her heart was being a co-founder of a private Armenian School in Glendale (currently named Chamilian and Tufenkian Preschool). For more than twelve years, she was a member of the Western Prelacy Board of Regents dedicating her time and commitment to Western Prelacy Armenian schools in California.

Due to her extensive accomplishments, dedication and service, Dr. Hacopian has been recognized by being awarded various prestigious honors. Most recently she was honored by the California State Senate as “Woman of the Year” (2012), the Commission on the Status of Women’s “Woman of Courage, Jewel of Glendale” award (2013), and a Congressional Recognition as “Woman of the Year” (2013), awarded by Congressman Adam Schiff. Other honors include the Armenian Cultural Conference “Woman of the Year” (1997), the Armenian-American Chamber of Commerce “Business Woman of the Year” (2009), and the Armenian Educational Foundation’s “Educator of The Year” (2003).

Since 2001, she has been the president of the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees for three different terms and as the past immediate GCC board president, she dedicated all her energy toward leading the college through a very tough budgetary cycle, and hiring a new superintendent/president.

The best recognition for Dr. Hacopian’s hard work is the fact that she had no opposition this last April for her fourth term election. She appreciates the community’s trust in her efforts to be an excellent Glendale Community College Board Member.

In an interview, Dr. Hacopian indicated that her best accomplishment was to be married to Vahe Hacopian, a long time board member in the Armenian Educational Foundation. It is important to note that Vahe and Armine met each other when they were both in the AYF “Mousa Dagh” Chapter. They have two daughters who have each gone to AYF Camp since age eight, attended Tufenkian Preschool and Chamlian. For six weeks as part of their missionary work in Armenia, both daughters participated in Armenia’s Land and Culture organization, where each stayed in Armenia’s Gogaran and Sagmosavank villages and proudly helped excavate these churches, keeping Hacopian’s father’s (Sako Shadakhouni) dream alive.

The Hacopian’s have five grandkids who attend Tufenkian Preschool and Chamilian Elementary School.

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