Welcoming the first graduates of AUA’s Master of Science in Economics Program

On June 6th, 2015, the American University of Armenia (AUA) celebrated the graduating class of 2015 with the 23rd Commencement Ceremony. Trustees, faculty, staff, students, friends, and family members from around the world gathered in AUA’s Large Auditorium to honour the hard work and accomplishments of its newest graduating class. This year’s ceremony was led by AUA President Armen Der Kiureghian, one of the founders of the university, who has supported the institution’s development since its inception in 1991. Following an invocation by His Grace Bishop Gevorg Saroyan, President Armen Der Kiureghian gave his welcoming remarks, “This is a special day of celebration for faculty, students, parents, and all the organizations and individuals who worked towards the establishment and development of this institution.” He specifically thanked the three main entities that helped bring AUA to life: the Armenian government, the Armenian General Benevolent Union, and the University of California. President Der Kiureghian also highlighted some of AUA’s biggest achievements of 2014-2015 academic year, including the reaffirmation of the university’s accreditation for 9 years by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), the signing of collaborative agreements with the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Irvine, the launch of the 1915 Centennial Series, etc. Commencement addresses were given by Fr. Mesrop Aramyan, Adviser to the RA President and Chairman of the Ayb Educational Foundation Board, as well as by Richard M. Mills, Jr., the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Armenia. This year’s ceremony also featured three valedictorian speeches. The Armenian address was given by Varduhi Movsisyan, the English address by Klariss Tahmassian-Kabakian (both from the MA TEFL program), and the third address was given at the Provost’s invitation by Balu Vignesh Thavidu Rajan (MBA/MPH), who stated, “Just like the founders of the American University of Armenia, our dream is to continuously build this university through the hard work of graduating students as well as of our fellow alumni. I ask that all the graduates raise their hands and give a promise that we all build this dream.” Shabitha Alexander, a first-year School of Public Health student, was the recipient of the 2015 Vartkess M. Balian Merit Award. This was the first year that AUA awarded Teaching Excellence and Research Awards, the funds of which have been provided by Trustees Berge Setrakian, Sam Simonian, and Sinan Sinanian. This year’s Faculty Teaching Excellence prize winners were Martin Galstyan and Mikayel Tovmasyan, both Lecturers in the College of Business & Economics. Research Awards were given to five faculty research projects. With the addition of approximately 230 new graduates, the number of AUA alumni has reached close to 3,000. The degrees and certificates were conferred to graduates in the fields of business management, economics, public health, computer and information science, industrial engineering and systems management, political science and international affairs, law, and teaching English as a foreign language. The Master of Science in Economics was conferred for the first time in AUA’s history. The program was established in 2013 in cooperation with the RA Central Bank. As is the tradition, at the end of the ceremony the graduates excitedly threw their caps in the air to celebrate receiving their diplomas.







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