California Designates 2008 as the ‘Year of William Saroyan’

SACRAMENTO–In honor of his 100th birthday, the state of California has designated 2008 as the “Year of William Saroyan.”

Introduced by California State Senator Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto) on March 13, the resolution, SCR 93, honors Saroyan and the cultural contributions Armenian Americans have made to California in the last 100 years. The resolution passed both chambers of the California Legislature unanimously.

“We thank Senator Cogdill for taking the initiative to honor Saroyan who put the Central Valley and specially Fresno on the literary map of the world,” said Varoujan Der Simonian of the Armenian Technology Group. “Saroyan once said that he didn’t make Fresno famous, raisins did. The reality is that wherever you travel in the world, be that in Europe, Russia, Japan or the Far East, and when people find out that you are from Fresno, they will immediately say, `Ah, Saroyan! Isn’t that where William Saroyan was from?’”

“It is wonderful to see over forty San Joaquin Valley organizations come together to honor Mr. Saroyan’s many contributions to the Central Valley. His observations about our community live on in his Pulitzer Prize winning books and shed light on the 125 years of cultural contributions by Armenian Americans to the state,” said Senator Cogdill. “Saroyan was a great American and I am proud to have
sponsored the resolution in his honor.”

A photo exhibition honoring Saroyan and the cultural contributions to California by Armenian Americans is now on display through September 24, at the State Capitol Museum in Sacramento.

A special Centennial Celebration of William Saroyan’s birthday is slated for August 28th at the Fresno Convention Center’s William Saroyan Theatre.

Sponsored by the Armenian Museum, the City of Fresno, The Fresno Bee and the Saroyan Centennial Committee, the event will feature the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia, under the Artistic Director and Conductor, Maestro Aram Gharabekian, world renowned Matzo Soprano Edna Garabedian, and the Fresno Choral Artists. There will be pre-concert festivities, followed by post concert dessert, birthday cake and champagne.


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