The Baghdasaryans Instill Philanthropic Values in their Children3 min read
Dr. Karen Baghdasaryan (MBA ‘98), a proud AUA alumnus, with his wife Dr. Gohar Hovsepyan, has established the Karen Baghdasaryan and Gohar Hovsepyan Scholarship Endowment Fund with a gift of $50,000 that will provide financial assistance to qualifying students studying at AUA annually, in perpetuity. Thanks to AUA’s partnership with the University of California (UC), AUA’s endowments are managed by UC and the University benefits from the economies of scale of UC’s large endowment pool, world-class investment expertise, balanced investment strategies, and stable annual returns.
As an alumnus, Dr. Baghdasaryan understands the impact that an AUA education holds by providing young Armenian students with new perspectives and critical thinking skills which help shape the future of the country, the region, and the world. “We both knew that we needed a new perspective in life and were not content with the knowledge acquired before AUA,” Dr. Baghdasaryan reflects. “The one place that could give us that new perspective was AUA. That was the secret ingredient that would give me the power to overcome any obstacle or challenge in life and conquer any summit I could put my mind up to.”
Dr. Baghdasaryan was born and raised in the city of Vayk, in the Vayots Dzor region of Armenia. He earned his MBA at AUA after studying dentistry at Yerevan State Medical University where he met his future wife. Now, using the skills earned at AUA, Drs. Baghdasaryan and Hovsepyan run two successful private dental practices in Los Angeles, Cyber Dentistry and Viva Smile.
Today the couple is raising three children and is teaching them the value of education and giving back to support their homeland. These values are strong in the Baghdasaryan household, and recently their son, Hayk Saryan, set out to raise scholarship funding to support young students like himself, in Armenia. Saryan, a senior student at UC Irvine, was inspired to raise money to establish a scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year after his father’s classmates came together to establish the Southern California Alumni Scholarship Fund. Saryan organized a charity concert in Glendale in May 2019 where, together with his friends, he performed in front of the community to raise funds in support of AUA’s scholarship program. Saryan’s efforts empowered two AUA computer science students from the rural regions of Armenia to study at AUA – Emin Ter-Mkrtchyan (Masis, Ararat marz), and Alen Adamyan (Berd, Tavush marz).
Scholarship gifts help the University to maintain its need-blind admission policy and empower Armenian students to have access to Western-style education in their homeland. “It would have been nearly impossible for me to study at AUA without the scholarship I received,” reflects Ter-Mkrtchyan. “Now I am confident that I can focus on my studies and not worry about the financial burden of pursuing an education. The quality of education was the most important factor for me when selecting an institution of higher education to apply to. I was looking for a place that offered advanced methods of teaching, highly qualified faculty, and everyone around me recommended to apply to AUA. It was the right choice.”
Adamyan, also supported by the Hayk Saryan Scholarship, shares the same sentiment about studying at AUA. “When I was in 9th grade, I was one of four participants representing Armenia in the National Olympiads for mathematics and informatics in Tokyo, Japan in 2018,” Adamyan says. “Pursuing a degree in computer science was a very natural path for me, and I am confident that AUA will prepare me to become a competitive professional in the field of technology.”
The impact of the Baghdasaryan family will help transform lives, create possibilities, and facilitate real, positive change in Armenia. “The best contribution for Armenia to develop and prosper is the gift of knowledge and education,” Dr. Baghdasaryan says. “It is important for the diaspora to share this concept, because I believe that every member of our diaspora cares about Armenia and wants to see it prosper. I chose AUA not only because it is my alma mater, but also because it provides the most contemporary and prospective education, instills freedom and independence, and is the most organized educational establishment in Armenia.”
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. For more information about AUA and its donor opportunities, please visit philanthropy.aua.am.