Welcoming AUA students back from military service
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AUA Warmly Welcomes Students Returning From Military Service

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia ‒ True to its annual tradition, the American University of Armenia (AUA) enthusiastically welcomed back students returning from military service. The event was attended by the returning servicemen and their parents and family members. This year, the event was held on the eve of the Independence Day of the Republic of Armenia, on September 20, 2019, celebrating the service of 24 AUA students who have returned in the Spring and Fall semesters. The gathering was organized by the AUA Office of the Registrar and the Office of Student Affairs and held in the Student Union in the Paramaz Avedisian Building (PAB).

AUA Professor Donald Fuller, who is a veteran of the United States Navy, delivered warm welcoming remarks saluting the students upon their safe return. Citing John F. Kennedy’s historic words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” he thanked the students for their honored service to Armenia. Professor Fuller wished them success in returning to civilian life and offered full support of the University to facilitate the students’ academic success.

“AUA is very proud to put on this event in order to celebrate our students who are coming back from military service. It is part of our mission to ensure that everyone has full access to education at AUA, so we provide support systems to make their transition into the military and back from the military as smooth as possible,” said AUA Provost Dr. Randall Rhodes mentioning several of the services that the University offers to its students, including counselling and  math and writing support. “In appreciation of your service to Armenia and to all of us, we would like to offer you our services in return,” added Dr. Rhodes addressing the students.

Cheering the students was also Arman Vardanyan (BA EC ‘20), who was among the brave soldiers serving in the army during the 2016 Four-Day April War. Recalling his own experience when he returned to AUA, Vardanyan spoke about the helping hand he received from so many and used the opportunity to inform the attendees of the recent launch of the “Honoring Those Who Served: Investing in Our Veterans’ Education” campaign. The goal of this new campaign is to raise $1.5 million for an endowed scholarship fund to support veterans of the Armenian Armed Forces who continue their education at AUA.

AUA Registrar Chaghig Arzrouni-Chahinian briefly presented each returning soldier to the guests. At times emotional, her introduction was accompanied by an uplifting surprise slideshow with the students’ photos from their time in military service. In turn, several program chairs also welcomed and heartened the students wishing them total success.

“My family members were cheered by the holiday cards that AUA sent them on different occasions. So, I felt the support of the University when in the army and also when I returned and decided to change my major to pursue a degree in the newly opened Bachelor of Science in Data Science program. I realized that a degree in data science will give me the opportunity to be more competitive in the job market. I am thankful to AUA for helping me overcome this transition smoothly,” said one of the returning soldiers, Gogo Hovhannisyan (BS DS ‘23).

AUA student Maria Yeritsyan (BA EC ‘22) emceed the event. The attendees also enjoyed musical renditions by AUA students Anna Ispiryan (BA EC ‘20) and Aram Khanlari (BS CS ‘21).

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.