60th Anniversary of Haigazian University to be Celebrated on October 3

Haigazian students in the early years
Haigazian students in the early years

Haigazian students in the early years

Events include a welcome reception, performances starring Plácido Domingo, and a Gala Supper at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion

LOS ANGEELES—The Armenian community of Los Angeles is set to mark the 60th anniversary of Haigazian University with a string of extraordinary celebrations this fall.

The centerpiece of events will be a once-in-a-lifetime LA Opera double bill, which Haigazian supporters will have the opportunity to attend as a group. Starring world-renowned tenor Plácido Domingo and featuring two works by Puccini, Gianni Schicchi and Pagliacci, the performance will be held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on the evening of Saturday, October 3. The performance will be preceded by a black-tie cocktail reception, followed by the Haigazian University 60th anniversary Gala Supper, with guests of honor including Plácido Domingo.

The anniversary events are being organized by the recently established Haigazian University 60th Gala Committee, co-chaired by philanthropists Harry Nadjarian and Tina Segel. An Honorary Committee has also been formed, with members including Governor George Deukmejian, Dr. Vartan Gregorian, Zubin Mehta, Ambassador Edward Djerejian, Baroness Caroline Cox and Mrs. Joyce Philibosian Stein, among others.

A scene from the opera

A scene from the opera

Proceeds from the anniversary events will benefit a major expansion of the Haigazian University Endowment Fund. “The purpose of the 60th-anniversary events is twofold,” Harry Nadjarian said. “First, we’d like to introduce more of our community to Haigazian University and its magnificent tradition of academic excellence; and second, we seek to raise support for the expansion of the Haigazian University Endowment Fund, which will enable the university to widen the scope of its programs and become self-sustaining for the next 60 years and beyond.”

Established in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1955, Haigazian University is the diaspora’s only Armenian university. With a broad liberal-arts curriculum and a strong emphasis on diversity, it offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as a teaching diploma. It is attended by Lebanese and Armenian students from 20 countries. Over the decades, graduates of the university have gone on to become accomplished Armenologists, entrepreneurs, teachers, scientists, academicians, and religious and community leaders.

Sona Hamalian, a Haigazian alumna who is a philanthropic advisor and fundraiser, joined the Haigazian University 60th Gala Committee in support of her alma mater. “When Mr. Harry Nadjarian asked me to join the committee, I agreed at once because his passion as an exemplary philanthropist eager to help our beloved university was unmistakable,” she said. “What a great pleasure it is to work with our Gala Committee for the Haigazian cause!”

Hamalian, who earned a degree in Armenian Literature from Haigazian, has held posts with the Armenian Missionary Association of America and other leading Armenian organizations. She later helped found the academic programs of the American University of Armenia and worked with a number of international development organizations including the Eurasia Foundation and Catholic Relief Services. The founder and president of the fundraising and public-relations firm Creative Networks, she has also trained nonprofit organizations in Afghanistan.

As she reminisced about her studies at Haigazian University, Hamalian said, “Those four years were among the most wonderful, most genuinely rewarding times of my life. I also have the fondest memories of Dr. John Markarian, the university’s founding president, who just turned 98! He is an outstanding, highly dedicated leader who capably steered the university during the most challenging years of the Lebanese Civil War.”

The upcoming anniversary events will kick off under the stars in the beautiful Music Center Plaza with a private champagne reception. Guests will then be guided into the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion where Plácido Domingo will sing the title role of Gianni Schicchi in Woody Allen’s hilarious staging of Puccini’s comic masterwork. Following the intermission, Domingo will conduct Franco Zeffirelli’s epic production of Pagliacci. The night’s culminating event will be the Gala Supper, with guests of honor including Plácido Domingo and a distinguished roster of dignitaries and community leaders.

Ticket information to be published soon.

Haigazian University was founded in 1955 through the joint efforts of the Armenian Missionary Association of America and the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East. A liberal-arts institution patterned after the American system of higher education, Haigazian offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in a broad range of disciplines, including Armenian Studies, as well as a teacher’s diploma. Through the university’s 60th-anniversary celebrations this year, the Endowment Campaign aims to raise support for a major expansion of the Haigazian University Endowment Fund, in order to ensure the long-term sustainability and continued academic excellence of the university.


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