ARMENIANS HONOR USC PRESIDENT FOR CHAMPIONING USC ARMENIAN INSTITUTE
Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Charles Ghailian, Chairman of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies
Leadership Council, USC President C. L. Max Nikias, and Judge Dikran
Tevrizian, of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies Honorary Council
BEVERLY HILLS–The University of Southern California Institute of
Armenian Studies Leadership Council marked its 10th year with a gala
celebration in the presence of 600 guests and supporters, at the
Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, September 28.
The 10th anniversary gala honored USC President C. L. Max Nikias
for championing the Institute. President Nikias, born in Cyprus, was
USC Provost when the Institute was established. “He recognized and
supported the Institute both as an idea and as a university program,
and for that we’re grateful,” said Charles Ghailian, chairman of the
Institute Leadership Council and host of the banquet.
The Gala committee, headed by Diane Cabraloff and Lori Muncherian,
raised nearly $2 million to support the Institute’s work. In addition
to generous donations by the Turpanjian Family Educational Foundation,
there were several significant commitments by others who believe in
supporting students through scholarships. The Kassabian brothers –
Garo, Jiro and Diko – established a scholarship fund in their parents’
names. International Jeweler and Collector Michael Kazanjian also
established a fund, as did Leadership Council member and Closet
World CEO Frank and Hoori Melkonian. The Tufenkian family generously
established the Richard Tufenkian Memorial Scholarship. Attorneys
Mark Geragos and Brian Kabateck directed some of the proceeds of
the AXA Insurance Settlement case in support of the Institute’s
Several dignitaries were present to join in honoring President Nikias.
The Carnegie Corporation’s president, Vartan Gregorian joined the
guests, as did Haigazian University’s president, Paul Haidostian, from
Beirut. Paul Ignatius, former Secretary of the Navy, and Ambassador
John Evans, who served in Armenia as ambassador, both members of
the USC Institute’s Honorary Council, were also present. Also in
attendance were Paul Krekorian, a member of Los Angeles City Council,
and Sam Simonian, founder of Yerevan’s Tumo Center.
Several members of the USC Board of Trustees were among the attendees,
including Ron Tutor, who introduced the president. President Nikias
spoke about the importance of scholarship for development, and
reiterated the importance of the Institute to the university.
The Institute falls within the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts
and Sciences. Dornsife Dean Steve Kay expanded on the Institute’s
mission, and expressed appreciation for the generous support of
donors. He acknowledged the three new appointments made in the Armenian
Studies program and repeated the College’s commitment to helping the
program grow. Professor Richard Antaramian is the inaugural holder of
the Turpanjian Chair in Contemporary Armenian Studies. Salpi Ghazarian
will head the Institute of Armenian Studies.
Professor Richard Hovannisian will work with the USC Shoah Foundation
Institute to develop the cataloging and indexing of the Armenian Film
Foundation’s collection of survivor testimonies.
The USC Color Guard officially opened the USC Institute of Armenian
Studies 10th anniversary Gala at the Beverly Hilton International
Ballroom in the presence of 600 guests
Institute Director Salpi Ghazarian addressed the audience by
acknowledging both the seriousness of their commitment to the role of
scholarship in problem solving, and the seriousness of the questions
and problems facing the Armenian nation and the Armenian state.
The evening’s program included a musical medley, generously supported
by Sara Zaruhi Chitjian, and performed by the Armenian Pops Orchestra,
led by Greg Hosharian.
The USC Institute of Armenian Studies (established 2005) supports
multidisciplinary scholarship to re-define, explore and study the
complex issues that make up the contemporary Armenian experience
— from post-Genocide to the developing Republic of Armenia to the
evolving Diaspora. The Institute encourages research, publications
and public service, and benefits from communication technologies to
link together the global academic and Armenian communities. Donations
to the USC Institute of Armenian Studies are tax-deductible.
An Attendee’s Perspective on the USC Institute of Armenian Studies
10th Anniversary Gala
BY DAVID KARAMARDIAN
The USC Institute of Armenian Studies honored university president
C.L. Max Nikias on Sunday, Sept. 28, at its tenth anniversary gala
banquet at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Raising nearly 2 million dollars
for the institute, approximately 600 guests filled the hotel’s ballroom
and dined to live performances by the Trojan marching band and Greg
Hosharian’s Armenian Pops Orchestra.
The night began with the band leading the guests into the ballroom.
Diane Cabraloff and Lori Muncherian, co-chairs of the gala banquet
committee, provided welcoming remarks to the audience, followed by
comments from Charles Ghailian, chair of the institute’s leadership
council, and Salpi Ghazarian, director of the institute.
Ghazarian, who became director last month after spending the past 15
years in Armenia, expressed her hope for the future of the institution:
“The possibilities are endless, and I’m grateful for the amazing
opportunity to try to work with you in this amazing institution,
to try to answer very difficult questions that are at the center of
Steve Kay, dean of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences,
which houses the institute, later took the stage, praising Dr. Nikias’
support for the institute: “Dr. Nikias’ steadfast commitment to
championing USC’s Institute of Armenian Studies has been critical
to what we’ve been able to achieve the last ten years and what we’re
going to be able to achieve in the future.”
He added, “Tonight, with this momentum unfolding before our eyes, with
the tangible excitement that we can all feel and share, we celebrate
the Institute of Armenian Studies as it becomes the epicenter of
research, teaching and community outreach for a nation that so many
people around me tonight call their home.”
Following an hour break for dinner, Hosharian and his orchestra
performed a musical medley, and a video presentation featured Armenian
USC alumni dating back to the early twentieth century.
USC Board of Trustees member Ronald Tutor then introduced the final
speaker of the night, Dr. Nikias himself, who noted how humbled he
was to be honored by the institute and how proud USC is to be the
He defined the Armenian community as an “unsurpassed exemplar” of
“passionate love for education” and noted the group’s resilience
in the wake of hardships: “In the refining heart of the crucible of
experience, true character and true leadership emerges. And through
the crucible, the Armenian community has emerged with the capacity
to provide significant leadership in our society.”
Dr. Nikias closed with an Armenian folk tale to inspire the crowd for
the institute’s future. “Three apples fell from heaven; one from the
story teller, one for he who listens, and one for he who understands,”
he said. “As the Institute of Armenian Studies tells the incredible
ongoing story of the Armenian people, may we all embrace these apples
and find inspiration and appreciation for many generations to come.”
Established in 2005, the institute covers all aspects of Armenian
studies with focuses on the contemporary Diaspora, the developing
Republic of Armenia, and the effects of genocide.
David Karamardian is a senior at Loyola High School in Los Angeles
and the 2014 Asbarez intern.