PASADENA, Calif. — In a singular act of kindness, longtime AGBU benefactors Vatche and Tamar Manoukian have donated $11 million to the AGBU Pasadena High School and Center in Southern California. The gift was announced by AGBU President Berge Setrakian during the Saturday, October 17, gala of the AGBU Southern California District Committee (SCDC) at the Sheraton Universal in Studio City, which welcomed close to 500 people.
The gala was attended by AGBU President Berge Setrakian and his wife, Vera; Rep. Adam Schiff (D); Chairman and CEO of Occidental Petroleum Corporation Ray Irani; AGBU Central Board Members, including Carol Aslanian, Aris Atamian, Yervant Demirjian, Sam Simonian, Berge Papazian, Sinan Sinanian and Judge Dickran Tevrizian, Yervant Zorian, SCDC Chair Berge Shahbazian and members
of the SCDC Board.
This annual event celebrates the success of SCDC’s activities in Southern California, and honors those who have made a substantial impact on the region’s large Armenian-American community. This year’s honorees, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian of London, England, are longtime benefactors and the AGBU Center and High School in Pasadena will be renamed in their honor.
The AGBU Pasadena Complex is the center of the organization’s activities in the region. In addition to the three-year-old AGBU High School Pasadena, which has over 120 students and athletic facilities that host hundreds of youths every weekend, the AGBU Pasadena Center is home to the organization’s many cultural and educational programs, including the Ardavazt Theater Company, Generation Next Mentorship Program, Hye Geen, Sardarabad Dance Ensemble and the Young Professionals of Los Angeles.
On Friday, October 16, members of the AGBU Central Board arrived in Los Angeles. In the morning, the group, accompanied by
Shahbazian and SCDC members, traveled to the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park, which offers K-12 instruction
to over 800 students. During their visit, they toured classrooms and the new Artemis Nazarian Pre-School facilities, familiarized
themselves with the high school’s cutting-edge robotics program and joined the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization for a
specially prepared luncheon.
In the afternoon, AGBU Central Board and SCDC members paid a courtesy visit to Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of
the of the Armenian Church of North America (Western Diocese) and Joseph Kanimian, chairman of the Diocesan Council
of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. They toured the new cathedral, which is expected to be completed in June 2010, and dedicated by Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, in September. The building will house a small
museum and classrooms for Sunday school instruction.