Vicken and Sossy Aharonian Study Room
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Dr. Vicken and Sossy Aharonian Enhance AUA Students’ Learning Environment

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — In a remarkable display of generosity, Dr. Vicken and Mrs. Sossy Aharohian have once again made a significant contribution to the academic community at the American University of Armenia (AUA). This time, their philanthropic gesture has resulted in the naming of a study room in the AUA AGBU Papazian Library, further enriching the learning environment for students, alumni, and the local community. 

Not too long ago, the Aharonians also named a conference room in the AUA Main Building, 413M – Sona Hamalian Conference Room, in memory of Sossy’s twin sister, Sona Hamalian, who had served as an administrator at the University in its early years.  

The Aharonian Family in the Sona Hamalian Conference Room at AUA, June 2022

The Aharonian Family in the Sona Hamalian Conference Room at AUA, June 2022

Raised by descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors — his parents from Zeitun and Marash (Cilicia), her parents from Aintab and Aleppo — both Vicken and Sossy grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. They attended the American University of Beirut, placing great value on education and the pursuit of professional excellence. Sossy studied nursing and became a head nurse in pediatrics at the American University Medical Center. Vicken, meanwhile, studied medicine, pursuing specialty training in cardiology in the United States and subsequently becoming director of a large interventional cardiology department in a major Los Angeles medical center, training over 100 interventional cardiologists who are well known and respected in the communities they serve.

They credit education for their personal successes, as well as providing the ability for nations to support the growth of civil society, political stability, and preparing future leaders, adding that, “We believe AUA can be instrumental in the development of Armenia toward those objectives” 

Vicken and Sossy fondly reflect on their collegiate days, remembering how they benefited greatly from the use of quiet study rooms in their university’s library. “Study spaces improve concentration and motivate students to practice higher levels of critical thinking skills. They also help students benefit from the resources the library offers toward conducting their research,” they respond when asked why they chose to sponsor the space. 

The AUA AGBU Papazian Library opened in 1991, the same year the University was established. The Library not only serves the students, faculty, and staff of the University, but also students and scholars from other institutions, providing access to over 31,000 volumes of books, 395,000 e-books, and around 87,000 e-journals. For students and those who benefit from the Library, the newly named study room represents more than just a place for them to study, but also a sanctuary for intellectual curiosity and exploration and a space where ideas are born and cultivated. Namings of these spaces facilitated by donors also signify support for these young scholars, serving as inspiration and reminding them of opportunities that lie ahead for them in Armenia. “Our vision for the future of Armenia is to have a democratic country free of corruption, a strong economy that benefits all its citizens, and a strong defense system to ensure the country’s long-term security,” the Aharonians say. 

As the AUA AGBU Papazian Library continues to evolve and expand to meet the continued needs of those who access it, the generosity of donors like the Aharonians becomes increasingly vital. Their gift not only enhances the physical space, but also strengthens its role as a hub for the flow of ideas and the pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence. 

Quoting Nelson Mandela, Vicken and Sossy add: “‘Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.’ We encourage all like-minded individuals to invest in higher education in Armenia through AUA to try and achieve these goals.” 

AUA is grateful for the Aharonians’ enduring legacy and their steadfast support of our students. To learn more about naming opportunities, visit:

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 and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values. AUA’s Office of Development stewards the University’s philanthropic efforts exclusively for educational purposes.