Commencement 2011

“Twenty Years of Advancement” was the slogan as the American University of Armenia (AUA) celebrated its 20th anniversary year, and held its 19th Graduation and Commencement Ceremonies during the last week of June.

Festivities began on Friday, June 24, with a graduation party at Ashtaraki Dzor, where AUA faculty and staff congratulated the Class of 2011, and celebrated the occasion of their graduation with dinner, music and dance. The party brought together about 300 graduates, alumni, past and present faculty, and staff.

On Sunday, June 26, 2011, AUA held its Commencement Ceremony in the large auditorium of AUA’s main building on 40 Baghramyan Avenue in Yerevan. The gathering of well over 1000 included parents and spouses of the graduates and many distinguished guests, all assembled to honor the graduating class of 2011.

The Commencement Exercises began with the ceremonial procession of the class of 2011, the President of AUA, the Deans of the Colleges and the faculty. This was followed by the anthems of the Republic of Armenia and the United States of America. An invocation was then given by His Grace Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian, Director of the Publishing Center of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, and Representative of his Holiness Garegin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.

AUA President, Dr. Bruce Boghosian, then welcomed the graduates, their families, faculty and many distinguished guests. In the course of his address, President Bruce Boghosian stated, “Remember that the highest expression of your patriotism is your willingness to help your fellow citizens. This means that, even as you begin your careers, you should find ways to volunteer your time and energy to help this country’s public institutions grow and thrive. This is what we mean by ‘active citizenship.’ Civic engagement is the glue that binds a country and its people together, and that makes the whole greater than simply the sum of its parts. AUA has always and will always endeavor to create ‘active citizens’ who will make a difference in the future of Armenia.”

Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian, Taisei Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, Founding Dean of AUA’s College of Engineering, and member of AUA’s Board of Trustees, then conveyed greetings to AUA on behalf of the University of California. AUA has been an affiliate of the University of California since its inception in 1991. Indeed, the University of California is one of the organizations that founded AUA, along with the Armenian Ministry of Education and Science and the Armenian General Benevolent Union.

Commencement addresses were delivered by Deputy Minister of Justice of RA, Mr. Emil Babayan, and Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the USA, Mr. Bruce Donahue.

During his address, Deputy Minister Babayan stated, “We no longer have the right to again abuse God’s favor and treat our independent Republic with the same lack of attention. Dear graduates, the responsibility to maintain our independence, bought at the price of our people’s sacrifices, is now also yours.”

During his address, Chargé d’Affaires Donahue stated, “My message is simple. I challenge you today to become active citizens, to make your communities and workplaces better, to make a difference. You will face decisions at every step of your professional and personal journey – hiring choices you make at your business, the values you teach your children, how you treat the disadvantaged, whether you put integrity above gain – and they all conspire to create the world you live in.”

Valedictorians Ms. Nonna Kamalyan (Armenian address) and Mr. Addeh S. Hovassapian (English address) then spoke on behalf of the students of the Class of 2011.

After this, 202 motivated men and women were presented by their respective Deans and called to the stage to receive Master’s Degrees in Business Administration, Political Science and International Affairs, Public Health, English Programs, Law, Industrial Engineering and Systems Management and Computer and Information Sciences. These new graduates join AUA’s 1,928 alumni for a total of 2,130. Seventy-four of them now have two master degrees from AUA.

The graduates concluded the exercises by throwing their caps in the air. Warm words of congratulations were exchanged during an open reception that followed.

AUA graduates now occupy important leadership positions, such as Deputy Minister of Justice, Deputy Minister of Defense, Ambassador to India, as well as many high-level directors and leaders of private corporations and international organizations.

  • College of Health Sciences was selected by the Ministry of Health, USAID and other international organizations to evaluate the nationwide child health care state certificate program. It also continues its efforts on the goal of a tobacco-free Armenia.
  • Department of Law held the first Intellectual Property Moot Court for law students throughout Armenian here at AUA.
  • School of Business and Management, in cooperation with the University Curriculum Committee reviewed, completed and implemented a new business curriculum, designed to accommodate the needs of working professionals, including a new 2.5 year professional MBA program with evening classes.
  • Department of Political Science and International Affairs, together with the US Embassy, launched a new cycle of the Mentoring Program for Women that pairs professional women with AUA students.
  • The Acopian Center for the Environment developed, implemented and is in the process of publishing a Biodiversity Monitoring System as a tool for monitoring the exploitation of natural resources, such as forests, open grasslands and wetlands in Armenia.
  • A team of cryptography researchers and students from our Computing and Information Sciences program in the College of Engineering initiated collaborative research projects with NTX Research and the Volkswagen Foundation in Hanover, Germany.
  • A team of computer-aided design students led by an Industrial Engineering and Systems Management faculty member carried out a collaborative design of a novel wind turbine, together with colleagues at Florida State University.
  • The Department of English Programs convened a very successful conference on language assessment and research methods in May 2011, including distinguished scholars from UCLA and Cal. State U. LA. The conference had 130 attendees, all of whom were English teachers in Armenia.
  • The Turpanjian Rural Development Program through its field offices in Shirak and Tavush Marzes and in Nagorno Karabagh has so far trained over 675 rural entrepreneurs and helped over 145 businesses in villages.
  • Through a generous donation from the Turpanjian Family Foundation, the digital Library of Armenian classics and Western Armenian literature developed a marketing program that is having implications to the marketing of digitized Armenian cultural artifacts.

Videos for addresses are available in Videos section