Philanthropist and AUA Benefactor Samuel Chekijian Passes Away


The American University of Armenia has announced the death of Samuel Chekijian, a philanthropist who cared about the future of Armenia.
Checkijian was born on July 23, 1936, in Jerusalem, Palestine. At the age of 20, he immigrated to the United States with his family, establishing themselves in the Boston area, where they remain today. In Jerusalem, Checkijian trained as a jeweler under the apprenticeship of his uncle, Sarkis. Upon his arrival in Massachusetts, he continued to work in the jewelry business, becoming a dealer of pearls, diamonds and fine gemstones. He traveled to India, the Far East and Europe, searching for the best gems for his customers. Upon his retirement from the jewelry business in 2015, Checkijian moved to Armenia, where he began a new professional endeavor as the builder of condominiums in Yerevan overlooking the Cascade.
“He was a very hard-working individual, and always loved what he did,” said his brother, Yervant. “Every ambitious task that he would undertake had to be brought to an impeccable completion. He was a perfectionist.”
In 2015, Checkijian became a member of the 100 Pillars of AUA, a group of benefactors who pledge $50,000 in unrestricted funding to support the university’s mission. As one of the first donors to the program, Checkijian was thrilled to be joining a growing group of now 60 supporters who believe that AUA students are the future leaders and entrepreneurs of Armenia.
“Growing up in Palestine, our family always dreamed of an independent Armenia,” said Yervant. “I feel gratified that Samuel’s legacy will stay at AUA, in a Western-style educational institution of higher learning, where they empower students with the knowledge and skills that they need to succeed in building a sustainable country we all will be proud of.”
Checkijian died away in Yerevan on Jan. 30, 2017, at the age of 80. He remained devoted to his entire family and was predeceased by his father Youhanna, mother Mary Norashkharian Chekijian and brother Vahan. He leaves behind his sister, Hermine Chekijian Adamian (Edwin Adamian), of Wellesley; his brother, Yervant Chekijian, of Watertown; nieces Susan Adamian Covo (Peter Covo), of Wellesley; and Sharon Chekijian (Yaghjyan) (Gevorg Yaghjyan), of New Haven, Connecticut; and grandnieces, Ruth and Martha Covo.