Beirut, October 13, 2009- On October 12, 2009, Haigazian University paid tribute to its Founders, during its Annual Founders’ Day celebration, in the presence of the University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian, Board members, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and students.
The ceremony started with the processional march, followed by the Lebanese National Anthem, after which, Campus Minister, Rev. Greg Lee-Parker offered the prayer of invocation.
Student Life Director, Antranik Dakessian presented the Student of the Year, who traditionally is privileged to address the Haigazian community on Founders’ Day. “The Student of the Year personifies the student who has wisely combined both the academic and the co-curricular aspects of university life and is at a good standing in those two spheres,” Dakessian explained.
Student of the Year 2009, Vahan Yoghourdjian confidently invited the students to adhere to their identity, nevertheless, tolerating and accepting the differences of others. “Balancing these two harmoniously would be the best”, said Yoghourdjian. He encouraged fellow students to get enrolled in the different extracurricular clubs of the University, in order to improve their social skills, critical thinking, and leadership proficiency. He also shared with them, how his personality was shaped at Haigazian University, and how his overall value system was affected.
Yoghourdjian concluded by saying that university life could be lived to its utmost, by “properly using the tools and opportunities provided by the university, thus, becoming fully accomplished leaders of the society.”
After a short musical interlude, a piano and flute duet, “Canon” of Pachelbel, skillfully performed by Araz Aitian and Talar Mandoyan respectively, President Haidostian remembered the founders of Haigazian University, paying tribute to their exceptional vision. “The fact remains that the Armenian Missionary Association of America and the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East partnered together and were supported by visionary individuals from Philadelphia and Phoenix, Stephen Philibisoan and Steven Mehagian who funded the project and led its board”, Haidostian said.
In his inspiring speech, Haidostian reiterated the fact that “Haigazian was born in a land of freedom, where education, creativity and the rich exchange of culture and knowledge were encouraged.”
In his translation of the University motto “Truth, Freedom and Service”, Haidostian highlighted three fundamental ingredients, “a big heart, a creative mind, and a trained hand.
He concluded that the ideal for the students and indeed for all of Lebanon is to prepare “givers”. In this respect, he identified that, “even though Lebanon is often seen as a receiving entity, recipient of funds and goods and political decisions, we need to know that we are called to and have the potential to give qualitatively to all people around the globe”.
Keynote guest, the Founder and Executive Director of CATHARSIS, the Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy, talented actress Zeina Daccache addressed the audience by expressing her pride and gratitude of being a graduate student at Haigazian University, in Clinical Psychology.
As a drama therapist, Daccache shared with the audience her fulfilling experience with forty prisoners at the Roumieh prison in Lebanon,. Daccache recently produced and directed a theatrical work, where the actors were the prisoners, with sentences varying from one year to death sentence. She explained how her work has challenged her, by helping the forgotten members of society, and turning their dead ends into positive opportunities.
Daccache was chosen as the guest of the event, because her sense of calling matches with Haigazian’s value system, in her case, “by using her talent and passion for turning realities of hopelessness, isolation and imprisonment to actions of love, development and teamwork,” as President Haidostian mentioned in his speech.
The program concluded with community singing the University’s Alma Mater.

Mira Yardemian
Public Relations Director