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Alumni Reunion 2018: AUA Celebrates Anniversaries of Five Classes

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YEREVAN, Armenia – On October 19, 2018, the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted the 2018 Alumni Reunion to celebrate the fifth, tenth, fifteenth, twentieth, and twenty-fifth anniversaries of the graduating classes of 2013, 2008, 2003, 1998, and 1993, respectively. This joyful event, which has become an annual tradition at AUA, took place in the Large Auditorium. In attendance were alumni, their families and friends, current students, faculty, staff, guests and the university administration.

AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian welcomed the alumni and congratulated them on their anniversary reunion. He then spoke about the recent achievements of the University, particularly highlighting the growing number of alumni, the launch of two new undergraduate and graduate programs in fall 2017, and the new undergraduate Data Science program in fall 2018. The President also spoke about the completed and planned expansions of the University, including the opening of the Student Union, Faculty Center and the Amphitheater, as well as the planned construction and renovation of the AUA student residence and Najarian Center for Social Entrepreneurship, all of which are made possible with the generous support of the American people through the USAID American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program.

Dr. Der Kiureghian also emphasized the importance of the Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund, which was established six years ago by the first class of AUA graduates. The funds from this endowment are used to support students who need financial assistance. This has established a growing trend of alumni giving that will benefit generations of AUA students. As he summed up, “The most important product of the American University of Armenia is you, our alumni, and we take great pride in your successes and achievements. […] You are the reason for the University to exist!”

During the evening, the guests watched a short film with reflections from alumni of the Pillar Class of ’93 drawing attention to the meaning and significance of giving back to the alma mater. The film also touched upon the unprecedented contributions the pioneer class has made in the past years and has recently become the first alumni group to join the AUA Pillars, pledging support of this unrestricted giving campaign. While a $50,000 commitment is usually made over the course of five years, the Class of ’93 has met this goal in three years, just prior to their 25th anniversary reunion in Armenia. Representatives of the Pillar Class of ‘93 then proudly presented a check for $50,000 to President Der Kiureghian, setting a new paradigm of alumni gratitude to AUA.

Speaking on behalf of the Class of ‘93, alumnus Babken Mnatsakanyan (MBA ‘93) thanked the President for his long-term dedication and commitment to the University and to the AUA community. “The University was a lighthouse for us in the dark days of the 1990s. It still serves as a lighthouse in the educational system of Armenia,” he concluded. Anahit Ordyan (MBA ‘93), Assistant Vice President of AUA, proudly stated that “raising the pillar amount in just three years for presentation at this reunion was a class decision. That’s because our alumni have a heart for AUA: A simple email jump-started the continuous flow of donations to the account.”

AGBU Papazian Library Director Satenik Avakian, a good friend of the Class of ‘93 and wife of AUA alumnus Aram Avagyan (MBA ‘93) presented Dr. Der Kiureghian with a photo of the class taken in July, 2018, with the inscription “forever grateful Class of ‘93.”

Hrachya Hovhannisyan (MBA ‘02) then announced the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award 2018, which went to Mane Tandilyan (MBA ‘02), Acting Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of 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 of the University.

In her eloquent acceptance speech, Tandilyan highlighted the significant role the University has played in her life and in the history of the Republic. “One of the most important things I learned here at AUA is that we always have the option of choosing our paths and we can always change what we don’t like,” she affirmed. She encouraged AUA students to always apply the knowledge and skills received at the University in Armenia.

The second short film featured reflections of AUA alumni from the other classes celebrating anniversaries this year. Toward the end of the ceremony, the alumni of the 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013 classes were invited onto the stage, where they presented their gift to the alma mater. Continuing the tradition of previous years, they made generous donations to the Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund which has provided ten scholarships to date. This year the alumni raised $11,300 to which the first class of AUA graduates, President Dr. Der Kiureghian, and AUA Professor Dr. Gregory Areshian added $3,000, $1,000, and $500, respectively, increasing the total amount raised to $15,800.

This year’s alumni reunion was emceed by AUA students Maykl Hovhannesyan (LLM ‘20) and Anna Ispiryan (E&C ’20) and complemented with musical renditions by current AUA students and performances by the Barekamutyun Dance ensemble after Hovsep Shamamyan.

Following the event, alumni, faculty and students socialized at a reception in the newly renovated Cafeteria.

You can watch the live-streamed video of the event 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.


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