Alumni Homecoming 2019
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AUA Celebrates Alumni Homecoming Week 2019

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia – This year the American University of Armenia (AUA) organized a series of homecoming events under the theme Return, Reflect, Reconnect. The Alumni Homecoming Week 2019 featured meetings of the alumni with AUA President Dr. Karin Markides; three “Five O’clock Tea” sessions with AUA alumni Artur Aghajanyan (BAB ‘17), Marine Ghushchyan (MBA ‘93), and Arman Makinyan (MSSM ‘19); and “What? Where? When?” intellectual game between AUA alumni and current students. Tours of newly constructed and expanded facilities were organized for alumni visiting the campus. The culmination of the week was the traditional celebration in the Large Auditorium on September 27, 2019 attended by alumni, their families and friends, current students, faculty, and staff.

At the event, AUA President Dr. Markides welcomed AUA alumni back to their alma mater and mentioned how impressed she was when she first learned about the various ways in which alumni have been supporting AUA, such as becoming one of the 100 pillars, establishing named scholarships and the Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund, and more.

“Today, with the growing number of AUA alumni, we are well-positioned to have a stronger impact on building a brighter future for Armenia. I look forward to leading AUA in that effort and ask that you continue to be actively engaged by Returning, Reflecting and Reconnecting as we write the next chapter of our University,” she noted.

During the evening, the guests watched a short film featuring alumni from different generations answering the same questions. They reflected on their feelings when they first heard they were admitted to AUA, how the University stood out from others, and recalled stories from their student years. The alumni also shared their vision of AUA in five years and gave some advice to current students.

Following a brief introduction of the recent advancements in the University delivered by AUA Provost Dr. Randall Rhodes, the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award 2019 was announced. AUA Assistant Vice President Anahit Ordyan was invited on stage to introduce David Akopyan (MBA ‘93), currently serving as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative a.i. in Trinidad and Tobago. Akopyan has been with UNDP for over 25 years in different missions in thirteen countries, including  Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria. Not being able to attend the celebration in person, Akopyan had shared a video message for the audience.

“I was very much honored and humbled to learn about my nomination for the Distinguished Alumni Award 2019. I know that among my fellow AUA alumni friends and colleagues there are many high-achievers doing a great job for the country or wherever they are currently. Tracing back, I can obviously see how AUA has transformed me into  a different individual with a much broader view on the country, the world, myself and others. This experience was fundamentally life-changing,” said Akopyan.

Toward the end of the ceremony, the alumni of 2014, 2009, 2004, 1999, and 1994 were invited on stage to present their homecoming gift. Continuing the tradition of previous years, this year the alumni contributed $11,513 to the Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund. Also, the proceeds from the “I am a Proud AUA Alum” T-shirt campaign announced during the event will be added to the Fund. The campaign was made possible thanks to the generous donation of 200 custom-made T-shirts by AUA alumna Mary Sukiasyan (MBA ’09), the founder of the Armenian fashion brand Shabeeg.

This year’s alumni reunion was emceed by AUA students Aram Khanlari (BS CS ‘21) and Anahit Sukiasyan (BA EC ‘21) and enriched with musical renditions by current students and the Armenian rock band Nemra. The festive atmosphere continued at a reception in the AUA cafeteria, where alumni, faculty, and students had a great time reconnecting, socializing and making new acquaintances.

The event was live-streamed and the video recording is available on our official YouTube channel.

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.