YEREVAN, Armenia – On September 20, 2017, on the eve of the Independence Day of the Republic of Armenia, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted its 2017 Alumni Reunion to celebrate the fifth, tenth, fifteenth and twentieth anniversaries of the graduating classes of 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012, respectively.
AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian welcomed the alumni as they gathered in the Large Auditorium and congratulated them on their return to their alma mater. He then spoke about all of the University’s new developments and advances, among them the growing number of alumni, the launch of two new undergraduate and graduate programs in fall 2017, the opening of the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) and Collaborative Study Space and many additional improvements to the University’s facilities. Dr. Der Kiureghian also emphasized the importance of the Alumni Endowment Fund, which was established five years ago by the first class of AUA graduates. The funds from this endowment are used to support students who need financial assistance, thus creating a cycle of alumni giving that benefits generations of AUA students to come.
At the end of his speech, Dr. Der Kiureghian shared a special message with the alumni: “You are the most important product that the University produces. Your success and accomplishments are our success and our accomplishments. We want to see you back home, interacting with each other, with our students, renewing old memories, building the connections and networking that persist among our graduates.”
During the evening, the guests watched a short film with reflections from alumni of various classes who shared the ways in which AUA was meaningful and impactful in their lives. Another film was also shown dedicated to the Alumni Endowment Fund, in which the seven scholarship recipients expressed their gratitude and appreciation to those who made their education at AUA a reality.
Dr. Der Kiureghian then announced the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award 2017, which went to Mr. Gagik Gyulbudaghyan, the managing partner of Grant Thornton Armenia. The Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 2016 and is given annually to AUA alumni who have made significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments, affiliations and careers have honored the legacy of excellence at the University. Ms. Anahit Ordyan, AUA Assistant Vice President, presented the work of Mr. Gyulbudaghyan to the audience, highlighting his personal and professional achievements.
Representatives of the first graduates of AUA also took the stage to congratulate all the alumni and express gratitude to those who have joined them in their endeavors. “As the first graduates of AUA, we need to take the pleasant responsibility of being leaders,” said Armen Vahradyan, Class of ’93.
Toward the end of the ceremony, the alumni of the 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012 classes were invited onto the stage, where they presented their gift to their alma mater. Continuing in the tradition of previous years, they made generous donations to the Alumni Endowment Fund. AUA graduates Gohar Palajian and Vahagn Vardanyan together with David Babayan handed over the cheque for 14,000 USD to Dr. Der Kiureghian, who then added another 1,000 USD to the fund to create a total of 15,000 USD to be directed to new AUA students in need of financial assistance.
Continuing another tradition, AUA alumna Zara Janibekyan officially passed the Torch of Success to Mr. Khosrov Harutyunyan, a graduate of the class of 1998. Zara remarked that last year had been very successful for her and she wished the same for the current holder of the torch.
The evening ended with songs, dances and hugs as alumni made their way to AUA’s newly renovated cafeteria to cut the ceremonial cake.
The ceremony was hosted by popular artists Hayk Petrosyan and Sos Janibekyan.
The mission of the AUA Office of Alumni Relations and Career Development is to develop, coordinate and promote programs for our alumni to keep them connected and involved with the AUA and one another, and to create a culture of philanthropy by encouraging alumni to contribute their time, talent, and resources to the advancement of the University.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.