New Professorship To Attract Students To Armenian Studies

Erica Masini

Daily Free Press , MA
Feb 22 2007

A new Armenian studies professorship at the cost of several million
dollars will give Boston University students the chance to learn more
about modern Armenian history, say College of Arts and Sciences
officials, who also recognize a lack of professorships at the

The professorship, donated to the history department by two alumni,
will install another permanent chair position and may increase BU’s
appeal to prospective students, said CAS Development and Alumni
Relations officer Karen Fung.

"What it means for BU on a whole is further ability to attract top
talent, build reputation and ratify what is here," said CAS Development
and Alumni Relations Director Eugene Lyman.

BU President Robert Brown will speak at a formal dedication ceremony
for the professorship donors March 28 at the BU Castle on Bay State

Professorships, created by alumni donations, give the university the
opportunity to name a chairman and hire a professor in a specific
and sometimes uncommon, area of study, said CAS dean Jeffrey Henderson.

Without the gift, universities could usually not create the program
on their own.

"We wouldn’t create this for ourselves because it’s such a specialized
field," Henderson said. "There are other priorities for us in CAS."

Although BU’s number of professorships has recently increased, the
university still lags behind others, Fung said.

"This is one of the issues that President Brown is aiming for,"
Fung said. "One of his goals in his Strategic Plan is to increase
professorships and chairs in order to make our university attractive
to future candidates."

"We’re not where we should be," Lyman said. "We have lagged behind .

. . [Efforts are] underway to rectify the situation."

Armenian studies is a new addition to the CAS curriculum, donated by
1952 Graduate School of Arts and Sciences graduate Elisabeth Kenosian
and her brother, 1960 GRS graduate Charles Kenosian, who died in
January 2005, Lyman said.

The siblings, of Armenian heritage, wanted to enlighten the BU
community through teaching and research about Armenian history,
including the Armenian genocide of 1915, in which Turkey reform groups
attacked Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, Fung said.

"There was a desire by Charles to create programs to teach modern
Armenian studies to a group of young people that are growing up here
in the United States, that are not aware of modern Armenian history
because it was not discussed, due to the genocide," Fung said.

BU has received positive feedback from Armenian community members in
Boston and BU alumni regarding the professorship, Fung and Lyman said.

"There are a lot of Armenian people in the community, not only in
the Boston area, who would be happy that another university offers
Armenian history," Henderson said. "They would have more reason to
support the college now."

Because universities cannot name professorships for themselves,
it is an honor to receive support from alumni, Henderson said.

"The ultimate achievement is to have a named chair," he said. "It
shows that your university is good enough to inspire somebody to give
that kind of money to make a permanent chair in the college."

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