AUA President Armen Der Kiureghian Announces Intention to Retire

Armen Der Kiureghian, president and co-founder of the American University of Armenia, has announced in an email to faculty and staff that he will step down from his position in June 2019. At that point, Dr. Der Kiureghian will have served as the president of the university for five years.

”This has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Having the privilege of leading a rapidly growing and exuberant university, interacting and sharing ideas with the faculty and staff, and seeing the enthusiasm and love for learning among our students are the highlights of my experience,” wrote the president in an email message to the AUA community.

“I am totally committed to AUA and will continue working as vigorously as ever. I am excited about our many current initiatives and will work hard to accomplish them with your support and collaboration.”

Dr. Der Kiureghian spent 40 years in academia in the US before taking on his current position as president of AUA, the university he helped co-found. After three years at the University of Southern California (USC), he spent another 37 at the University of California, Berkeley. Amid the decades at these renowned institutions, the president said that “the experience at AUA has been unique and completely gratifying.”

The president cited the importance of planning ahead and staying faithful to AUA’s spirit of openness in explaining why he informed the AUA community of his decision a year and a half before it would take effect. He added that the early announcement would allow the Board of Trustees ample time to choose a suitable new president.

In response to his announcement, Dr. Lawrence Pitts, chairman of AUA’s Board of Trustees, released a statement. In it, he described Dr. Der Kiureghian’s role in founding the university, calling him “a catalytic leader and innovator in envisioning AUA at a time when such a university seemed out of reach.”

Dr. Pitts also noted the president’s unwavering dedication to the university, saying that, “AUA exists today in no small part due to his persistent efforts in bringing together the partners who could help establish the University.”

The board chairman outlined some of the most important successes of the president’s tenure, noting that, “he oversaw the completion of extensive undergraduate curricula, leading to a quadrupling of its student body in a very short time. Under his direction, the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) was launched, and teams including students are working on new products and companies in Armenia.” “Dr. Der Kiureghian has also supported the expansion of AUA’s endowment which has more than tripled during his tenure, now reaching about sixty million dollars,” he continued.

In his letter, Dr. Pitts aptly stated that, “We owe him a special debt of gratitude.” We, the AUA Family, agree.

To read the full text of AUA Board Chairman Lawrence Pitts’ statement, click here.

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.