Community Raises over $60,000 for Armenian Studies at UC Irvine

Dr. Garo and Mrs. Sylvie Tertzakian hosted their seventh annual fundraiser to support the Armenian Studies program at UC Irvine


IRVINE, Calif.—This past Sunday, Dr. Garo and Mrs. Sylvie Tertzakian held their seventh annual fundraiser to support the Armenian Studies program within the School of Humanities at UC Irvine. With generous support from the community, the event raised over $60,000 to go towards establishing an endowed chair of Armenian Studies.

Georges Van Den Abbeele, Dean of the School of Humanities, was present to share his vision for the program, thank the Tertzakians and the community for its continued support of the program and to invite attendees to take action by supporting the $500,000 fundraising challenge to meet the $1.5 million mark necessary to establishing an endowed chair.

The establishment of an endowed chair in Armenian Studies has been a commitment of the Armenian community in Orange County. With that goal in mind, Drs. Vahe and Armine Meghrouni, benefactors of the Armenian Studies Lecture Series, pledged $1 million this summer. In order to meet the present $1.5 million endowment minimum for a faculty chair, the UC Irvine School of Humanities is asking the community to commit the remaining $500,000. With the funds raised from last week’s holiday fundraiser, the School of Humanities is on its way to achieving this goal.

The School of Humanities is currently in an unprecedented position to elevate the impact of chair endowments, including its proposed endowed chair in Armenian Studies. In partnership with the University of California Office of the President, UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman recently announced a one-time matching gift program to fund endowed chairs at UC Irvine. For the first eight endowed chairs that have signed donor agreements at the $1.5 million minimum, there will be a $500,000 match to bring the endowed chair value to $2 million. This pilot program is an exciting opportunity to elevate the level of academic expertise that an esteemed chair can bring to a school and it would be ideal to quickly capitalize on this unique opportunity. These matching funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and will no doubt be consumed quickly.

“Armenian studies has a central role to play in the humanities to the extent that it is both focused on one people’s traditions and history and also opens up a much wider horizon of ethical, cultural, intellectual and spiritual concerns that face all humanity,” said Van Den Abeele, dean of the School of Humanities. “It is, in a profound way, both absolutely global and yet as local as our own southern California community.”

Established in December of 2007 under the leadership of history professor Touraj Daryaee and assisted by the Tertzakians, Armenian Studies at UC Irvine includes undergraduate coursework in ancient and modern Armenian history. With financial support from Vahe and Armine Meghrouni, the program also hosts a quarterly lecture series that bridges historical and cultural topics surrounding modern day Armenia to the broader Orange County community.

The School of Humanities is currently in discussion with the American University of Armenia regarding a partnership on faculty, student and research exchange, which would add incredible value and knowledge-share to the Armenian Studies Program at UC Irvine.

To learn more about Armenian Studies at UC Irvine or about how to support the endowed chair, please reach out to Marijana Lekousis, Interim Director of Development, at marijana@uci.edu or 949-824-1342.

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