GLENDALE—The Southern California Armenian community paid a special tribute to the Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, the highest-ranking Armenian American official in the United States government on Sunday, July 14, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his confirmation by the United States Senate.
The event was hosted by Onnik Mehrabian, President of Glendale KIA, at the Phoenicia restaurant in Glendale, California. Judge Der-Yeghiayan is noteworthy for being the first Armenian immigrant Federal Judge in the history of the United States.
After graduating from the Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire in 1978, Der-Yeghiayan began his career as an Honor Law Graduate under the United States Attorney General’s Honors Program. He served in various capacities with the Justice Department’s Chicago District of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), with jurisdiction over the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, including as trial attorney from 1978 to 1082, District Counsel from 1982 to 2000, and Acting District Counsel from 1986 to 1987.
For twenty consecutive years from 1981 to 2000, Der-Yeghiayan received Outstanding Performance Ratings as a U. S. Justice Department Attorney from different Attorneys General mof the United States. In 1986, he received the Frank J.McGarr Award of the Federal Bar Association as the Outstanding Federal Government Attorney in Chicago. In 1998, he received the District Counsel of the Year Award from the Commissioner of the INS and Attorney General Janet Reno.
In 2000, Der-Yeghiayan was appointed under the Clinton administration an immigration judge in the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review. He was appointed by President George W. Bush on March 5, 2003, for the district court seat vacated by Marvin E. Aspen, and was unanimously conformed by the U.S. Senate on July 14, 2013.
Dr. Garbis Der-Yeghiayan, President of Mashdots College in Glendale and the honoree’s brother, served as Master of Ceremonies. A host of special guests, including His Eminence Arch. Hovnan Derderian, Rev. Joe Matossian, Father Krikor Chahinian, Father Andon Noradoungian, Glendale Mayor Dave Weaver, California Superior Court Judge Zaven Sinanian,Dr. Viken Hovsepian, Prof. R. Hrair Dekmejian, and representatives of State and Federal officials and various organizations, congratulated Judge Der-Yeghiayan exalting his extraordinary virtues and unique skills and wishing him continued success.
Judge Der-Yeghiayan, in his remarks, thanked Mehrabian for hosting the event and all the special guests for their heart-warming reception and congratulatory words.