Supporters of the American University of Armenia Celebrate Launch of Undergraduate Program

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Hosted by Zaven & Sonia Akian

Brentwood, California – On Saturday, December 14, 2013, Zaven and Sonia Akian opened their home to host a fundraising event celebrating the recent launch of the undergraduate program at the American University of Armenia (AUA).  The sold-out event, which took place under the night sky, raised over $110,000 for the university.

“We were so pleased with the turnout for this event,” noted Zaven Akian.  “The enthusiasm of the crowd in support of AUA’s undergraduate program was stupendous,” Akian continued.

AUA President Dr. Bruce M. Boghosian, who traveled from Armenia to attend the event, remarked, “It is great to see AUA’s academic founding fathers in the room, Dr. Mihran Agbabian and Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian.”  President Boghosian continued “I was also very pleased to see Seta Karamardian, representing AUA founder Dr. Stepan Karamardian, and her husband Gerry Soma, who came all the way from the Bay Area to join us.”  Dr. Lawrence Pitts, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of AUA, and several other AUA Board members were also in attendance.

“AUA is the single most important gift that the American-Armenian diaspora has ever given to the Republic of Armenia” noted Dr. Boghosian. “With the addition of an undergraduate student body, AUA’s regional impact is growing,” President Boghosian continued.  “At this new size, we will create more new graduates in just a few years’ time than we have created in our entire 22-year history—more graduates to start new businesses and spur the Armenian economy, more graduates infused in businesses and government who will introduce transparency and best practices, more graduates who will transform the Armenian economy and the Armenian nation.”

The evening’s Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Bernd Stephan, son-in-law of Zaven and Sonia Akian.  Touching letters of gratitude from scholarship recipients were read by the Akian daughters, Lori and Lena.

Dr. Pitts thanked the local organizing committee, remarking, “This event is the result of the hard work of many people, including the ladies of the organizing committee.”  Pitts continued, “I am especially grateful to Zaven and Sonia and their children, Lori, Bernd, Lena, and Haig, who generously opened their home and their hearts to welcome us all.”

Dr. Pitts urged the crowd to continue to support AUA in its mission to educate a new generation of leaders in Armenia.  “Your financial support allows us to continue to provide a high-caliber American education in Armenia,” Pitts noted.

The American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia.  Founded in 1991, AUA is affiliated with the University of California.  Through teaching, research, and public service, AUA serves Armenia and the region by supplying high-quality, graduate and undergraduate education, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting democratic values.

The American University of Armenia is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001.



Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian with AUA President Dr. Bruce M. Boghosian


AUA Board Members Zaven Akian, Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, Jerry Turpanjian, Dr. Mihran Agbabian with Board Chair Dr. Larry Pitts and AUA President Dr. Bruce M. Boghosian


AUA Vice President of Institutional Advancement Maral Chalian with Ted Sarafian and AUA Board Member Ann Karagozian


Dr. Mihran and Mrs. Elizabeth Agbabian


Gerry Soma & Seta Karamardian


Jerry Turpanjian, Sonia Akian, & Pat Turpanjian


The Akian Family – Lena Akian, Sonia and Zaven Akian, Lori and Bernd Stephan


Nelly and AUA Board Member Armen Der Kiureghian with AUA Board Chair Larry Pitts

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