Banquet Celebrates USC Institute of Armenian Studies

Dr. Mihran Aghbabian (left) and Gerald Turpanjian (right) present the check to Dean Kay


The halls of the California Club rang with laughter and excitement as over 300 guests gathered for an “Appreciation Evening” on Thursday, April 10, sponsored by the Leadership Council of USC Institute of Armenian Studies and graciously hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Charles and Julia Ghailian, under the auspices of Dean Steve Kay of Dornsife College of Arts & Sciences.

The Institute’s memorable celebration was attended by a plethora of notable guests – Former Governor of California the Hon. George Deukmejian; Former Chair USC Board of Trustees Edward Roski, Jr.; Former Chair USC Board of Trustees Stanley Gold, represented by his son Charles Gold; Board member USC Board of Trustees John King; Retired Federal Court Judge the Hon. Dickran Tevrizian; Consul General of the Republic of Armenia to Los Angeles the Hon. Sergey Sarkisov; community leaders, benefactors, supporters and fellow Trojans.

The exceptional evening opened with warm welcoming remarks by co-chairs Diane Cabraloff and Lori Muncherian, followed by Dean Steve Kay’s spirited oration on USC’s commitment and his bright vision of the Institute’s future development. In taking note of the Institute’s many successes, the Dean extended his deep gratitude to Gerald Turpanjian (Turpanjian Chair of Contemporary Armenian Studies), Sarah Chitjian (Chitjian Fund for Armenian Genocide Studies), and Dr. Richard Hrair Dekmejian, the Institute’s Founding Director who was greeted by a standing ovation for his leadership and academic roles, and proceeded to outline the Institute’s achievements and future challenges.

The Dean presented Appreciation Medals to Gov. George Deukmejian, Gerald Turpanjian, Patricia Turpanjian, Sara Chitjian, and Dr. Richard Dekmejian, and acknowledged the years of support and service to the Institute by Dr. Mihran Agbabian, Hon. Dickran Tevrizian, Harut Sassonian and Savey Tufenkian.

Charles Ghailian, Chair of the Institute’s Leadership Council, took the podium to thank Dean Kay’s supportive leadership, as well as the generosity of Stepan Martirosyan and that of three families for establishing Endowment Funds – Mr. and Mrs. Albert and Tove Boyajian, Mr. and Mrs. Vahe and Veronique Karapetian, and Dr. and Mrs. Vatche and Shoushig Cabayan. Two former chairs of USC Board of Trustees were also honored – a Gratitude Award given for Stanley Gold’s vision and financial support of the Armenian Genocide Digitization Project (received by his son Charles Gold), and Edward Roski, Jr. was presented a painting by Arthur Sarkissian (collection of Mr. and Mrs. Greg and Caroline Tufenkian) for his valuable support of the Institute since its founding in February 2005.

The highlights of the evening were two visual messages from former US Ambassador to Armenia the Hon. John Evans and Executive Director of the Shoah Foundation Institute Dr. Stephen Smith, extending congratulations and thanks to the Institute and its Leadership Council for their achievements.

The dramatic zenith of the Banquet came when a $405,000 check was displayed on the screen as our grand benefactor Gerald Turpanjian presented it to Dean Kay on behalf of donors and supporters for the balance needed to complete the Armenian Genocide Digitization Project by the Shoah Foundation Institute. The Digitization Project, including the first 400 survivor testimonies of J. Michael Hagopian’s Archives at the Armenian Film Foundation, will be made ready in time for the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide in April 2015. This crucial and timely donation was hailed by the enthusiastic guests, reflecting a promising prelude to the Institute’s 10th Anniversary Gala on September 28, 2014 – a date to remember, honor and raise USC Institute of Armenian Studies to ever greater heights.

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