LOS ANGELES—On May 15 , Jerry and Pat Turpanjian hosted a dinner at their new home in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., to introduce the new president of the American University of Armenia (AUA), Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian. Seventy-two guests, including the entire Turpanjian family and AUA Board of Trustees, were there to greet Dr. Der Kiureghian.
After an elegant cocktail party and dinner, Larry Pitts, chairman of the Board of Trustees, welcomed guests and thanked everyone for attending before introducing Dr. Der Kiureghian, who talked about the tremendous growth occurring at AUA. “We have 1200 students,” Der Kiureghian said, “and in a few years, that number will double. We are building a new technology center along with a new student center, faculty center and outdoor amphitheater. In addition, we have begun the strategic acquisition of adjacent properties in anticipation of the university’s future needs. AUA is the best investment one can make because we are making a difference by providing quality education to the future leaders of our country.”
President Der Kiureghian then presented Pat and Jerry Turpanjian with commendations from California Senior Senator, Diane Feinstein, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to Armenia and AUA. Later, Albert Boyajian was awarded the Feinstein Senatorial Commendation for his many years of philanthropy to Armenian causes, including AUA.
Adam Kablanian, newly elected chair of the AUA Development Committee, spoke about AUA’s campaign and introduced Vice President for Development and External Relations, Lorraine Alexander. VP Alexander talked about the importance of the diaspora supporting AUA and the impact AUA has on the Armenian economy and civil society. “The mission of AUA”, she said, “is to provide quality education based on an American model emphasizing technical excellence, objective standards of performance and emphasis on independent thinking. Our challenge at AUA is to keep pace with Armenia’s future and that means every single Armenian in the diaspora needs to understand the importance of supporting AUA.”
At the close of the evening, Chairman Pitts and President Der Kiureghian presented the Turpanjians with an exquisite painting by Gagik Ghazanchyan. Jerry humbly accepted, saying, “Pat and I are very grateful to all of you who attended this evening’s event. My congratulations to Dr. Der Kiureghian and everyone at AUA for all their accomplishments. We love the painting and hope all of you have enjoyed the evening.”
Dr. Der Kuireghian is one of the original founders of AUA along with Dr. Mihran Agbabian and the late Stepan Karamardian. He is the fourth president of AUA and will be leading its 25th anniversary $50 million campaign to build AUA’s endowment and secure the future of the university.