Christopher, Sebastian & Katherine Petrossian plaque
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Inspiring Future Generations: The Petrossians’ Legacy as ChangeMakers

2 min read

The youngest additions to the 200 AUA ChangeMakers come from a legacy of visionaries and pioneers. They are Christopher, Sebastian, and Katherine Petrossian, the grandchildren of American University of Armenia (AUA) supporters and ChangeMakers Vahik and Alice Petrossian. The Petrossians enrolled the youngest generation of their family to continue their tradition of contributing to a world-class University and hub of academic excellence in the region. Through the AUA ChangeMakers campaign, they join visionary philanthropists who embrace change and join in the road to achieving AUA’s vision and building a stronger and more sustainable Armenia. 

Vahik and Alice Petrossian with grandchildren Christopher, Sebastian, and Katherine“The key to the future of our homeland and of AUA is in the hands of our next generation, and what better way to contribute to that process than engaging our grandchildren,” Alice Petrossian remarks. “Our dream is to connect the next generation with Armenia and AUA. Christopher, Sebastian, and Katherine visit Armenia often. On their next visit, we hope to have them tour the AUA campus and see the ChangeMaker wall to understand that they are now a part of the AUA family and bear the responsibility of supporting AUA’s mission. The connections made at a young and impressionable age will also build character. Our grandchildren volunteer in several programs and projects, but being a benefactor is the next important step to take and nurture them in the spirit of giving. We encourage other grandparents to join us and model the importance of supporting a cause that matters while sharing the joy of giving with those they cherish the most, their grandchildren.”

Alice and Vahik Petrossian are both grandchildren of Armenian Genocide survivors. Born in Iran, they spent their early years there before immigrating to the United States. Alice Petrossian guest lectured freshman English courses at AUA for many years and enjoys the annual graduation ceremony in celebration of the students’ achievements. She takes great pride in her own legacy as the daughter of Hacob and Mina Shirvanian, dedicated Armenian patriots who volunteered for various initiatives and established the Shirvanian Family Foundation to support Armenian causes. Through this latest gift from the foundation, Christopher, Sebastian, and Katherine Petrossian join the exclusive group of AUA ChangeMakers. 

“We believe in grounding future decisions on data and research. The ChangeMakers campaign will provide that capacity and shape the vision to look at the future and work through evidence to offer answers to needs in multiple disciplines,” reflects Alice Petrossian. “Vahik and I see AUA as the model for ethical, visionary, and rigorous higher education institutions that can, in the near future, compete globally with the best higher education institutions. As a lifelong education leader in both K-12 and higher education systems in California, I celebrate ‘student-focused’ institutions, and AUA definitely is such an institution. Our dream as a family is to improve education in Armenia, and we understand that the geographic regions are the key for that dream to become a reality. AUA’s willingness to include and provide educational equity and access to all of our nation’s youth in the regions makes us very proud.”

“The world is watching,” she continues. “What we do now will speak loudly and carry the message we want to convey as Armenians. Make a difference. Become a ChangeMaker.” 

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