American University of Armenia Dedicates New Paramaz Avedisian Building

YEREVAN–The American University of Armenia dedicated its new building on November 1, bringing state-of-the-art educational facilities to Armenia and the region.

The four-story Paramaz Avedisian Building adds approximately 100,000 square feet of space to AUA’s existing facilities, enabling the University to double its enrollment by providing new classrooms and seminar rooms, laboratories and research centers, offices for faculty, suites for AUA’s academic programs, and the new VivaCell Videoconferencing Room.

The educational facility, designed by Altoon Porter Architects of Los Angeles, California, incorporates several innovative design elemen’s and sophisticated environment-sensitive solutions.

“The new Paramaz Avedisian Building along with the United States accreditation the University received in 2007, provides AUA with the ability to expand educational offerings with new programs and to increase our student body and serve additional Armenian and international students. The University community is grateful to the many donors, large and small, who made our dream a reality,” explained AUA President Haroutune Armenian.

The ceremonies opened with the blessing of His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II who followed with an inspirational speech on the importance of education. Republic of Armenia Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian also addressed the celebration, saying that “the mission of universities is not just to transmit knowledge but also to give people the capacity to learn,” because what is learned today is quickly outdated.

On behalf of President Serge Sargsyan, the Prime Minister bestowed the Movses Khorenatsi Medal upon Mr. Edward Avedisian and Mr. Jirair Turpanjian.

Among the keynote speakers was Dr. Rory Hume, who as Chair of the AUA Board of Trustees noted that “the new building is an extraordinary achievement” and compares favorably with the University of California’s buildings, many of which he has studied in his extensive career with U.C. (AUA is affiliated with the University of California).

Mr. Edward Avedisian, who also serves on the AUA Board of Trustees, noted that the students who use the new facility “will have the distinct advantage of the latest technology and an environment that will inspire them onward in their pursuit of higher learning.”

The building’s namesake, Paramaz Avedisian, who graduated summa cum laude and first in his class from Rhode Island College of Pharmacy, helped others in times of need throughout his life. One of his greatest achievemen’s was in tutoring a legally deaf classmate for over four years and seeing him receive his diploma. Dr. Armenian said that Paramaz Avedisian is “the embodiment” of the universal values espoused by AUA.

The principal benefactor of the building is the Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian family of Pawtucket, R.I. in honor of Paramaz Avedisian. More than a dozen family members traveled to Yerevan for the opening ceremonies along with the children of Paramaz Avedisian. Mr. Ed Avedisian served on the AUA Building Committee with President Haroutune Armenian, AUA President Emeritus and Board of Trustees member Dr. Mihran Agbabian, and Dr. Garo Missirian.

Additional multimillion-dollar contributions were provided by the Turpanjian Family Foundation and the Manoogian Simone Foundation. The Turpanjian Family Foundation also provides major support to the AUA School of Political Science and International Affairs and funds the AUA Turpanjian Rural Development Program.

The Turpanjian Scholarship program, administered by AUA, has assisted over 650 students throughout Armenia to date. The Manoogian Simone Foundation continued its generous support of the American University of Armenia with the naming of the Alex and Marie Manoogian Hall, in honor of Ms. Louise Simone’s distinguished parents. Numerous other major donors made room-naming contributions and traveled to Yerevan for the festivities.

The dedication ceremonies were also attended by a host of dignitaries, including US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, USAID Mission Director Robin Phillips, Republic of Armenia Minister of Education and Science Spartak Seiranian, Minister of Economy Nerses Yeritzyan, Diaspora Minister Hran’sh Hakobyan, Parliament Committee Chair Ara Babloyan, Yerevan Mayor Yervand Zakaryan, Yerevan State University Rector Aram Simonyan, State Medical University Rector Gohar Kaylian, the Ambassadors of several countries, and numerous municipal and international representatives.

The Paramaz Avedisian Building dedication was part of a weekend of celebration activities that included commencement ceremonies for the University’s 16th graduating class and a gala dinner banquet attended by more than 400 students, alumni, faculty, Board of Trustee members, donors and supporters.

Several opportunities to name rooms are still available, as is the chance to make a donation to the Paramaz Avedisian Building matching fund drive before December 31, 2008. For more information, please see the AUA website at www.aua.am, send an e-mail to donations@auac.net, or call (510) 987 9452.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia is affiliated with the University of California system and obtained accreditation in 2007 from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, one of the seven regional accrediting bodies recognized by the US Department of Education. Through teaching, research and public service, AUA serves Armenia and the region in the transition to a market economy and democratic governance.

The American University of Armenia Corporation (AUAC) is registered as a non-profit educational organization in both Armenia and the United States and is affiliated with the Regents of the University of California. Receiving major support from the AGBU, AUA offers American-accredited instruction leading to the Masters Degree in eight graduate programs. For more information about AUA, please visit www.aua.am.

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