GLENDALE—More than 80 supporters and community leaders from Southern California attended a special gathering on April 10 graciously hosted by longtime AUA advocates Mr. & Mrs. Vahe and Aida Yeghiazarian of Glendale. AUA is celebrating its monumental 25thanniversary this year with an exclusive gala being held on November 19th at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.
The event at the Yeghiazarian home was the first in a line of pre-gala gatherings to be held in Los Angeles. Special guest speakers included AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, along with Dr. Armen Mkrtchyan, Director of AUA’s Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC).
In her opening remarks, AUA Vice President for Development and External Relations Lorraine Alexander welcomed the attendees and thanked them for coming. “Your support for AUA is the most important investment Armenians in the Diaspora can make” stated Alexander. “AUA is the leading higher educational institution in Armenia. Our graduates are the most heavily recruited and are making the biggest impact on the economy and political system.”
President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, one of the founders of AUA, spoke about its inception and how it has rapidly grown over the past twenty-five years. “We have gone from 101 students in three graduate programs to more than 1,500 students in 8 graduate programs and 3 undergraduate programs. In addition, we have 8 research centers, the Digital Library of Armenian Literature Project, and the Turpanjian Rural Development Program, all of which make significant contributions to the advancement of our nation. Our plans are to increase our undergraduate majors, expand our facilities, and attract more international students.”
The highlight of the event was a presentation by Dr. Armen Mkrchyan, Director of AUA’s Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) and a native of Armavir, Armenia. Mkrchyan spoke about the public/private partnership between USAID/ASHA (American Schools and Hospitals Abroad), which provided the funds needed to build the infrastructure of EPIC. He also acknowledged Los Angeles philanthropist Ms. Sara Chitjian, who has provided significant support for the vital program. EPIC plans on merging existing entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives, in an effort to foster new ventures and partnerships resulting from increased studentcollaboration,, creativity, and novel technologies.
Closing the program was AUA’s chairman of the board and former provost of the University of California, Dr. Larry Pitts, who proudly stated how proud he was of what AUA has accomplished over the years and the caliber of education being provided to students. AUA currently has over 1,500 students and is projected to have 2,000 students by 2017. “Over 75 percent of our graduates remain in Armenia and either launch their own companiesor secure management positions in business or government. AUA graduates are making an impact on Armenia and will continue to do so as more and more graduates enter the workforce.”
Several members of the gala committee were also present. AUA’s 25th anniversary black tie gala will feature a special presentation on the much anticipated film, The Promise, starring Oscar Issac, Christian Bale and Canadian born actress Catherine LeBon. Philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan will be the evening’s keynote speaker. For more gala information or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Raffi Senekeremian at (510)925-2888 or [email protected]