A Tradition of Giving3 min read
“Our family believes in supporting Armenian organizations that have a meaningful impact and have consistently shown themselves to raise the bar of the quality of their programs and outcomes, year after year. AUA is certainly such an institution.” – Edele Hovnanian
Hirair and Anna Hovnanian’s five children, Siran, Edele, Armen, Tanya, and Leela, were raised in a loving and compassionate home. Hirair came a long way since a freighter brought him to America in 1951; after years of hard work, long hours, and dedication he not only managed to build a vast real estate empire, but also, together with his wife Anna, raise a family. As their family grew, Hirair and Anna instilled in their children deep rooted values of sensitivity, compassion, and generosity- values that would stay with them throughout their lives. The Hovnanian name is now synonymous with philanthropy, as they have developed a tradition of supporting Armenia and Armenian causes worldwide- a tradition that is now being carried on by their daughter, Edele Hovnanian.
Under the guidance of their parents, Edele and her siblings developed a strong connection to the homeland. The Hovnanian children learned to speak Armenian, listened to Armenian music, were educated on Armenian history, and, through all of their exposure to the culture, deeply identified as Armenian. So it was not unforeseen that Edele, like her parents, would grow to be a leader in the Armenian community.
Edele, who currently holds the position of President of Hovnanian Property Management Inc., Hovnanian Senior Housing Services Inc., and Hovnanian Investment Corporation, has demonstrated a great level of commitment to supporting Armenia through many charitable outlets. She is part of the executive team for The Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Foundation, which provides funding to assist Armenian communities worldwide, and is the founder of Birthright Armenia- an organization with the mission of building bridges for Diasporan Armenians through promoting volunteer work of the Armenian youth in the homeland. Though American born, Edele had the good fortune to form her own bond with Armenia through regular visits to the country from an early age, and it is her hope that, through Birthright Armenia, Diasporan youth will also have an opportunity to undertake journeys of self-discovery and form their own bonds with their homeland.
Of the causes the Hovnanian family supports, education has always been among the most important for both Edele and her parents. Their enthusiasm towards education is not surprising, considering their own educational experiences; Hirair worked four jobs to put himself through Villanova University, earning a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering and Anna earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Edele holds a joint Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Civil Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.B.A. degree from Columbia University. When AUA launched its 100 Pillars Program to secure funds to promote the further growth and development of the university, inspiring its faculty, students and staff to strive to make AUA a center of academic excellence, innovation and ethical leadership, it did not take Edele long to decide to become a direct participant and support AUA’s efforts.
In keeping with her seemingly endless generosity, Edele gave with an open heart to support the university that is making strides in changing higher education in Armenia not in her own name, but rather in the name of her parents, Hirair and Anna- loving parents, who raised her to recognize need and to respond with compassion and action.
AUA is honored to be a part of the Hovnanian tradition of giving and we are proud to welcome Hirair and Anna Hovnanian to our esteemed group of 100 Pillars!